Sunday, June 08, 2008

Buried By Time..

So I spent a few hours this morning coloring this guy on Photoshop. I was groggy, for reasons I'll explain later. Like me at my last shit job, Photoshop "Unexpectedly Quit". Wasted hours. I even tried out some new techniques that seemed to be working pretty well. Not sure if I'll even remember how they went. I also cleaned up some of the line work using Photoshop.
-So what you see here is a raw scan.
I mentioned to a new friend who's also a drawer that I do that - fix stuff on PhShop- and he looked at me like I just told him I think the new Nickelback album is pretty sweet. I felt some weird sense of shame for a second and then came-to; This drawing is for print. It's not meant to be hung anywhere. The guy is kind of an aging punk/indie type guy, so maybe he carries some bias form the glory days of "diy", that indie ethos. What do you guys think? Is it "cheating"? I used a non-repro blue pencil on this thing and I loved it.You can have a mees of lines underneath everything, but it gets washed out looking under your eyeballs as you ink.You could call that a form of cheating if you took the line of thought to it's logical end.
He does pretty good art though. No web presence to speak of. He does a kind of tattoo flash thing mixeed with UG comics of yore.

I mentioned to Aeron quite some time ago about "drawing with fire."
I kind of wanted to keep it secret, imagining some big reveal.You have to understand that I was really absolutely sick of looking at and applying black lines of ink on white paper. I wanted something distinctly different. I'm not big on painting.I don't have facilities for etching,and it needed to be drawing-based, etc. At some point it hit me: Woodburning. "Pyrography" is the actual term, which sounds pretty cool, I must say.
So I looked into it and a week or so later I bought a Woodburning set-up:

It was sort of expensive, yeah. I enjoy it a great deal, but it takes some getting used to.It's a really bizarre feeling to burn these perfect lines into wood.
I haven't finished any so far that I think are very good. Here are a couple of attempts:

-This one I pencilled out and I like it okay, I just don't know how to finish it. I was experminting with the various "nibs" that came with the set during this one, which wasn't a great idea. I was a little too eager, maybe. If you refer to the pic of the kit, you'll see those tubes with the red caps. Those are the "nib" ( actually called "tips") containers; lines of various thickness, different "shader" type tips, etc.
The process, when done correctly, is actually a lot like tattooing: Pencil on paper, transfer paper, apply it to wood, etc.
I haven't done it all the way through yet, for a number of reasons.

-This one quickly devolved into a sketchbook page on wood. It's a good way to learn what not to do.
I plan on doing a lot of this over the summer. I'm a little reticent to describe exactly where I want to take it, but roughly speaking I think I want to do a kind of ornate/decorative/ geometric kind of thing, with a certain rawness to it.I've even thought about finding ways to age the wood after I've burned on it. I want it to be some kind of arcane artifact or something.
Most people who burn do a kind of craft at the cabin thing with it, a lot of bad wildlife art. The more contemporary guys I've seen who burn ( I was kind of dismayed to note that a number of contemporary artists do woodburning, hate to say.) do a kind of ironic play on the crafty cabin thing.Not at all what I'm after.
I have already planted the seed in a friend of mine, a guy I grew up with who came home to MN for a visit a while back. I think he posted some pics on his blog ( If any of you guys skateboard, you might now who he is.). You'll have to scroll, I imagine. He's burning on old leather bags, which is pretty cool.*
You can also use various color wood stains and even watercolor on woodburnings, something I'll definitely explore this summer.

That's if this guy doesn't chew the shit out of my wood:

-We just got him yesterday.
I'm trying to squeeze in too much info here: My significant other and I just bought a house. That's why I haven't been posting much. We moved in maybe 3 weeks ago and it's been pretty chaotic. We couldn't help but immediately add to the chaos by picking up the little monster at the pound yesterday.( Did you know they put microchips in dogs at the Humane Society nowadays?) He's a Boxer mix of some kind, probably with a generic Retriever or something.
This is why I didn't sleep last night. I'm hallucinating right now from lack of sleep..
You guys got any name suggestions?
He enjoys running awkwardly on hardwood floors, pooping, and looking unutterably cute. I wonder if, in a parallel universe, that Earths HP Lovercraft wrote about things so cute they destroyed minds?


Did I mention that I'm pretty psyched on EBD right now? We've got great new members and one on the way that I'm a big fan of. Tonight I'm going to work on a banner, and I invite any of you who're interested to do the same.We'll throw up that code
that cycles through the banners.

* I just scrolled through his photo blog a bit and couldn't find the image in question.I know it's there, but you're in for some serious scrollin' if you want to look for it.



Jeffrey Meyer said...

"This drawing is for print. It's not meant to be hung anywhere."

If it's for print, anything goes and no one should feel any shame at all for whatever methods are used. The less precious I feel about a drawing, generally the better it is... when I last did comic book pages I was drawing directly in colored marker on tracing paper, over and over until I was happy with each panel...

Now, with Photoshop, I'm sure a similar method could be utilized on the computer. The only drawback would be lack of original art to sell.

I seem to remember reading that Alex Toth was one of the first guys to use cheap markers for his work... dunno how his originals have held up (I've seen some where the lettering is in red marker, the shading is another color, the linework is black, etc. -- nothing looked "faded" though, as markers tend to do) but you certainly can't argue with the finished product.

Really love the woodburing examples, Luke. And I agree that the "ironic" aspect of it is totally played out -- much more interested in using a particular medium's strengths and weaknesses to express something personal or "appropriate" rather than as a condescending, crowd-pleasing joke. I love colored stain and think it would look fantastic combined with the sort of linework you're developing here.

Have you tried Silverpoint? I wonder if there's a way to combine woodburing and silverpoint in one piece? They're both pretty permanent...

Luke Pski said...

Thanks Jeffrey. I don't know what silverpoint is. Is it some kind of etching?
I do know that the expert woodburner types use a tiny dreble type thing to make white lines over black areas that they've burned. Does that relate at all?
No puppy names, eh?

Human Mollusk said...

Hey Luke. I like the drawing and the pyrography thing I hadn't heard af before - interesting.You might want to consider somehow implementing the actual woodgrain into your designs (as basis for the drawingo, as a conscious interference). Otherwise it's kind of pointless to use a surface which already comes with such a distinct pattern and you might want to use a kind of wood with a more neutral grain like chipboard or something.
Re: Photoshop:
In my opinion it both is ceating and is not to clean up your drawings via Photoshop, depending on where you set the bar. If as a purist, you want to achieve a perfect drawing with only your hands (and a pen, obviously) it's cheatig of course, but in that case same would be true for opaquing white, using an eraser and any other kind of retouching. If on the other hand what counts for you is the imag you get in the end by using whatever tool is availible to you it's not cheating. Personally I understand both approaches and many of comic pages I've drawn two or three times because I fucked up the inking and was to proud to use whiteout. When I look at those old drawings I often wonder what the hell it was I thought I did wrong. Nowaday I try not to do that so much anymore but sometimes the old perfectionism creeps in. And more often than not I will notice some little mistake after I've already scanned the page and then I'll just fix it in PS.
Okay, now something else: I thought we usually voted or at least informed the other Duckers about artists we would like to invite, because none of the new members you invited were anounced, well, at least not to me. I like all of the new members' art and wouldn't have voted against any of them anyway, but I think we should be careful not to disrupt the sense of community by keeping up some degree of democracy. I'm wondering about everybody's opinion as to what extent we should keep up the expansion. Not saying I'm for limiting the recruitment at this point, but since the blog is obviously changing we might as well discuss this.

Human Mollusk said...

Cripes, so many typos! Note to self: no edit function on blog comments.

Luke Pski said...

Woodgrain: I totally agree and only considered that halfway into the first one, which is white pine and full of grain.The darker bits actually take more heat to mark properly , so it really needs to be taken into consideration for more than aesthetic reasons. But yeah, I have a few pieces of wood that have some nice grain on them, and I plan on designing for those with the wood in mind. . The second one - the "sketch" one- is on Basswood, which is the burners' wood of choice cause there is very little grain.It's like working on a blank sheet of paper.
So some designs will be better suited for Bass than Pine, etc.
Voting: I thought we decided that was out. I can try to dig for the emails, but I thought we decided we needed new blood to the extent that we could each let the invites fly.
I do apologize if I'm mistaken- and I very well could be. I'm totally willing to start the voting thing again.
Once Matthew Lock*, who just accepted the Blogger invite and told me he's set to start posting in the next couple of days, gets his introductory post in, I'll send out a group email just like we used to, and we'll set all matters EBD straight.

Luke Pski said...

-The drawing- Thanks. I liked drawing it, which is kinda rare. I plan on adding some text into those tubular shapes too. I was gonna do it on Phshop with the Wacom.... Oh the shame!!

Aeron Alfrey said...

Dog names... Sir Shitsalot, Blix, Nix, Yog, Tobor, Manos, Meat, Mr Shnoogly Woogums, ok maybe not that one hahah. Laughing Gravy, if only to call him that in public really loud and angriy, uuhh.. I named some girl's dog something awesome when I was trashed but I can't remember what it was.

So far as voting on new members, I can't remember what but I know we had a time where things were so slow here and people were dropping left and right that I think we kicked into an emergency period of pulling in people at our own discretion? But yeah, things are pumping now.

Anyhow, this burning technique looks really great, I see a lot of potential with it. I wonder if you could pull off any sort of prints by doing charcoal rubbings on sheets of paper against the burnt pattern? You might consider burning the linework into the wood deep enough for something like that to work? I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this. You might also consider carving the wood into an interesting object, maybe carve the edges to resemble the imagery on the surface?

So far as digital clean up being considered cheating, hell no.

Human Mollusk said...

Hm, I must have missed (or forgotten about) the decision on discontinuing the voting thing. Sorry.

MD Encolpius said...

Photoshop is not cheating, it is a tool.

Artist Anika said...

I agree with your need to do something drawing based. I'm not a painter either, and prefer to draw. Your pyrography is looking good, and I am definitely envious of your kit. Mine, unfortunately, is tiny: Just the burner and about 5 different tips. You might be interested in looking at this page Pyrography.

It talks about the different media you can use pyrography on and gives a few tips.

Luke Pski said...

Thanks Anika!- Helpful link, for sure.

Paleo said...


Hey Luke, congratulations on your new house, pet and drawing technique.
whirlwind days for sure!

The little quadruped fella looks like a Clint to me. Tough and leathery, even while being cute.

The woodburning seems a great idea, i have a weakness for carpentry, not that i know anything about it, but it runs in the family.

I do echo Aeron's idea in a way, being wood, it asks to be carved/built with, but have you think of doing carved wooden cubes? like boxes you can pile on creating diferent designs.

And pleeeze, cheating?! Pffhhh...

Sean Goblin said...

Woodburning=fun & a little gimicky/kitschy, but when is that bad? Photoshop is only cheating if the rules have been agreed upon. Personally, i'm using the computer less & less & discouraging others from using it, trying to get them to agree with the rules... most people don't! That's fine.

Luke Pski said...

Yeah, I kind of resisted burning cause of its association with kitsch, at least here in the US, but hopefully what I do with it will be really unkitschy.
I've definitely thought about burning on 3d objects but that's down the road.I'm still trying to work out how to make consistent marks with the thing.
It would be cool to carve little blocky creatures and drench them in ornamental lines and I've also thought about doing wood boxes with crazy lettering on them that I thought could be peoples' initials or something.
I'm going to come home from work today and burn for as long as I can..

Sean Goblin said...

The smell can't be beat. I like taking the wood & going crazy with it as an idea. Like totally marked up characters? Cool.

Jeffrey Meyer said...

Luke, have you seen Yves Klein's "fire paintings"?

Luke Pski said...

Hadn't seen those before Jeffrey. Some are really interesting. I have seen that one Chinese guy who uses gunpowder.

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

I struggle to see how woodburning could be kitsch. I like what I see.

You'll know what I personally feel about adjusting art digitally,, I try to create something that will look great by itself and hope that I will no longer have to adjust contrasts someday. But I'd discourage people from re-drawing and fixing stuff digitally. But do what you like and are comfortable with.
I just want to be able to pick up all these drawings in my old age and like what I see. Be able to look at proper finished art.

That dog looks like such a little sweetie,, I can only jokingly suggest Bosch or Durer.