AirbrushTalk©  
Volume 1, Number 4, April 2000

Published four times a year by The Paschal Group, Inc.
Publisher: Robert Paschal
Editor: Jeanne Paschal
E-mail: arttalk6@aol.com
Also see www.arttalk.com — The Newsletter for Visual Artists
 

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CACY’S CORNER

with Michael Cacy

More Thoughts on the Business of Illustration

In the last installment of "Cacy's Corner", I attempted a brief overview of illustration biz. There is, of course, more food for thought if you are seriously considering working in the field. Each of the following topics could be a column (if not a book) in itself. Indeed, there are several useful books available on the business side of graphics that delve into self-promotion, business ethics, and more. One of the best resources for anyone interested in an inside view of how it all works is the widely available book Pricing and Ethical Guidelines published by Graphic Artists' Guild.

Self-Promotion
Naturally, no art director is likely to come to you with hot illustration assignments if he or she doesn't know your work and where to find you. So for any illustration professional, and especially anyone new to the market, self-promotion is a necessary part of your overhead--and, usually, money well spent. Most forms of self-promo give the artist visibility and credibility. Traditional modes of self-promo include "direct mail" and "source books." Let's look at these one at a time.

Direct Mail Promos
Direct mail may consist of a simple postcard that showcases your work or a "style sheet" (also known as a "tear sheet") sent to art directors and clients you wish to attract. Postcards are inexpensive and a good means of keeping your latest work out there before the eyes of those who actually buy art media. Several printers who specialize in promo cards for artists (Modern Postcard, for example) advertise in artists' trade magazines.

Style sheets may show one or several examples of your work, but if the latter, don't confuse the viewer on the receiving end by presenting too many different "looks." Remember that, above all, it is your style that is your selling point, so keep your presentation cohesive. The art director is probably going to remember you for only one thing, anyway, so drive home your strongest point with examples that reinforce that aspect of your work.

If you are mailing out only a few samples of your work, plain old good quality laser prints or high-resolution color hard copy output from your computer printer may suffice. Make sure your name and contact info exist somewhere on the page. For slicker, more extensive mailings get them printed. If no printer owes you favors this week, there are printers (Serbin Communications in Santa Barbara, for example) who specialize in tear sheets for graphics professionals.

When using any type of printed direct mail for self-promotion, it is best, whenever possible, to address your correspondence to the specific individual you wish to reach. I suspect most direct mail simply addressed "Art Director" usually winds up in the circular file. Be resourceful and get up-to-date information on agency or corporate design staff before you start licking those stamps.

The more imaginative and innovative your actual presentation, the better. It need not be expensive or elaborate but don't simply mail your samples out in a plain white envelope if you want it to get opened. How much "junk mail" do you throw away without breaking the seal? An illustrator acquaintance of mine in Staten Island (who I consider a self promo genius) had inexpensive embossed foil stickers made which read "Free Spaceship Inside," and inside the envelope with his samples was a little plastic spaceship. What art director would be too busy to check out a free spaceship?

Websites are the more contemporary style sheets. Although not as tangible as the traditional printed page, a web page is limited only by your imagination, which in your case is not a limitation at all. You still have to get them to come and have a look, but the ability to display your work on the information highway and frequently update your samples works to your advantage. Just as there are numerous publishers who print source books, there are a number of companies who offer Internet spots dedicated to showcasing illustration.

In the next "Cacy's Corner" or two, we'll continue our glimpse into self-promotion. Coming up: More on source books (which show the rest of the world what you do), dealing with artists' reps, and how illustration is bought and sold.

 

Iwata Airbrushes
The professional Iwata Airbrush line is imported and manufactured exclusively by Medea Airbrush Products, along with commercial spray guns, Medea Textile Colours and Com-Art Airbrush Colours.

 

TEXTILE

The Luxury of Leather

by J.w Baker

In the world of wearable art there exists a wide range of supports for textile-based art. These supports range from the synthetic blends commonly used in most T-shirts and sweatshirts, through the cotton of denim, all the way to leather. Though the airbrush art depicted on any one of these garments may be identical in caliber, the public¹s perception is affected by the monetary value of the support used. In the general public's mind, wearable art on T-shirts tends to represent the economy level of wearable art, whereas leather by association with its "unadorned" value, represents luxury. This "luxury of leather" is not restricted just to the client's point of view. For the airbrush artist, leather by the nature of it's "closed" surface (as opposed to the open weave of fabrics) offers more opportunity for control and detail. The use of conventional brush and other techniques is also possible. These are options usually reserved for canvas-based art, thus making leather truly a "luxury" to work on.

The actual steps for painting on leather are for the most part very similar to painting on other textile supports. But there are a few exceptions, most of which involve the preparation of the garment.

--Stretch the garment over a stiff cardboard or wooden form cut For this purpose.
--Using masking tape, mask off the areas you DO NOT wish painted or affected by overspray. If you wish to have a subject with no background, this would be the time for any "custom" masking.

I have found FRISK Products' new "Canvas Mask" material to be ideal not only for canvas-based work, but textile art as well ­ be it T-shirt, denim or leather.

--Using common isopropyl alcohol, wipe the surface to be painted to remove any dirt, grease, wax or residual dyes.
--Prep the area to be painted with a base coat of a textile white opaque. As an option, transparent extender can be applied prior to this "base coat," the purpose being that the extender medium gives the smoother surface of leather more "tooth" for the paint to adhere to.

The Eclipse SA (a single action airbrush) is ideal for the application of single color base coats as well as mediums used for prep and/or finishing your work.

--At this time you can apply any further custom masking.
--To start, cover the basic shape of your subject with an opaque base of a middle value of the color that will be most predominant throughout your subject.

The new Eclipse CS has proven to be an ideal airbrush for textile art. Its unique nozzle design allows for the easy use of thicker textile paints at lower pressures, while still being able to render extremely fine detail.

--Transfer your key lines for the important features of your subject, paying close attention to rendering as much detail in the eyes as possible. Mix a color that is the next darkest value of your base color, and using a thin mix of this color, "draw" over your base color, reinforcing your key lines. Render the shadows and dark areas of your subject using several different colors, each a derivative of the original base color, slowly building up the textures and detail in your subject.

Your detail and textures can be further enhanced by the optional use of a conventional brush for effect.

--Continue using increasingly darker values until you've rendered most of your detail.
--Work back and forth between all the colors and values necessary to adjust your work to meet the desired finished image.
--The final step is to add all the darkest and lightest values for the final contrast(s) and detail.
--Protect your work with the recommended finish coat suggested by your paint system; when in doubt, the transparent extender medium makes a good top binder.

Again, the Eclipse SA works well in this regard.

 

Artool Products Co.
Art bridges for painting and drawing with soft and wet mediums. Safety non-slip rulers, and cutting mats for use with art and utility knives and rotary cutters. Low-tack film for airbrushing, illustration and fine art. Airbrush templates for illustration and graphics. Body art and finger nail art accessories and paint. Manufacturer of innovative art materials, tools and airbrush accessories for fine art, illustration, T-shirt art, body and finger nail art, sign and automotive art and graphics. Artist Bridges, Cuttingrails, Freehand Airbrush Templates, Friskfilm, Artool Cutting Mats, Body Art and Nail Art supplies.

 

The International Airbrush Artists' Quilt

by Teresa Griffin

The Internet has opened up new worlds for us all, unlimited knowledge, and a world of friends we didn't know existed. As a frequent poster on the Bulletin Board System at Airbrush.com, I realized that the great talents and enjoyment of art could be pulled together in a very helpful and unique way.

I voiced a call to all the artists there interested in making a quilt for a good cause. These wonderful, caring artists raised their hands to say, "Yes, we'll do it!" Some had never attempted textile airbrushing before. A few of the artists are from Canada and the others are from the U.S. Our theme is Seasons/Wilderness/Wildlife. There couldn't be anything more warm and cozy than a quilt with animals and nature on it.

We then decided to choose a charity, and there are so many different charities that it was hard to pick one. It was unanimous on the decision for St. Jude Children's Hospital. It's hard to realize just how much these children go through struggling to be healthy. Their will to carry on is more than I could ever know, and they deserve the much-needed help to sustain a high quality hospital with excellent doctors, nurses, staff, and facilities.

The finished quilt will be auctioned off on eBay.com with all monies going to the St. Jude Children's Hospital. As the quilt squares come back to me in the mail, each one is unique and touches a person in a special way. I think the unity of the squares along with the comfort found in a quilt will spur interest in raising money for this cause.

 

Silentaire Technology
Silent compressors for use with airbrushes, spray guns, and air tools from Werther International.

 

AIR MARKETPLACE

New from Iwata-Medea-Artool

Iwata Custom Micron Airbrush Series

Iwata-Medea is pleased to announce the availability of all three Iwata Custom Micron Series professional airbrushes, which are designed for the elite professional who demands precise and accurate control of very detailed spraying. These airbrushes are the "best of the best," hand-tested and adjusted by the world's leading airbrush technicians. Special machining processes, along with the meticulous hand fitting of the parts, create an airbrush with superb atomization and incredible control. Each Custom Micron Airbrush features the special Iwata "Custom Matched Head System," which has all of its parts precision matched and thoroughly tested, adjusted and retested as a set until all spray characteristics are as perfect as an airbrush can be.

The Iwata Custom Micron B (CM-B) has the smallest nozzle and needle combination for ultra-fine detail work; the Micron SB (CM-SB) has all of the features of the CM-B except it features a 1/8 oz. (3.5ml) side feed cup, which is engineered for both right and left handed use; and the Micron C (CM-C) is ideally suited for professional use where heavier paints are required or when larger work is being created.

New Son of Skull Masters from Artool

Artool Products Company can't wait any longer to announce the release and availability of the new Son of Skull Masters Freehand Airbrush Templates by Craig Fraser. Just when you thought you had seen enough cool skull stencils and everything was back to normal in the airbrush world-they're back! New! Son of Skull Masters (The Sequel) by Craig Fraser. Fresh from the Chemtox prisoner testing facilities of Iwata-Medea, the boyz at Artool have punched out four more play toys for your airbrushing pleasure: "Bonz," "Nite & Day," "Menagerie," and "Devil or Angel." While we can't guarantee that they will make you popular like a soft drink, we can guarantee that they are 100% Y2K proof, they take up space, have mass, and, most importantly, they don't resemble kitty-cat or beach-scene stencils in any way, shape, or form!

Son of Skull Masters are totally interactive with your first set of Skull Masters, are produced with exacting laser-cut precision, and are completely solvent proof for those "toxic" projects.

New Iwata Studio Series Jet Compressors

Iwata-Medea, Inc., manufacturer and distributor of fine airbrushes, has just introduced the new Iwata Studio Series Jet Compressors, featuring "Sprint Jet Power" and "Smart Technology." Powerful and compact, these three new compressors represent today's technology at affordable prices. A few of the high-end features include zero maintenance, oil-less piston-driven systems, mounted air pressure gauges and moisture filters, rugged air-on-demand reliability, and smooth, quiet operation. The true beginner, casual, or professional airbrush user may choose from the powerful and compact Sprint Jet, the quiet automatic shut-off Smart Jet, and the dual oil-less piston Power Jet with a large capacity air storage tank and "Smart" technology.

See the complete Iwata-Medea-Artool catalog on the web at www.iwata-medea.com.

 

Medea Airbrush Products
Medea Airbrush Products include a wide variety of colours. Medea Textile colours include: opaque, standard, gray, flourescent, metallic & specialty colours. Medea Com-Art colours include: airbrush, opaque, transparent, photo gray, reproduction colours and colour kits.

 

Digital Illustration for Film

Ron Gress, Visual FX Art Director,
Discusses Digital Illustration for Film
(Click on any of Ron's Digital Illustrations for a larger view)

by Bess Wiley

Until only recently, Art Direction/Illustration for special effects in film was primarily executed through the use of the classical tools of the trade--pencils, paintbrushes, airbrushes, etc. The availability of user friendly and affordable software and lightning fast computers has provided another incredible set of tools for the artist/illustrator. Concepts, designs, key frame scene illustrations and their alternate versions could take weeks at the drawing board. Now--through the use of advanced software such as Photoshop, Bryce, and Poser, to name a few--these tasks can not only be effected much more quickly but changes can as well without extensive reworking or loss of the original design. Ron Gress, Visual Effects Art Director for such films as "Fifth Element," Armageddon," "Supernova," and "The Red Planet," has used these programs extensively and to great effect to assist directors in the realization of their films.

In the illustration "Armageddon Liftoff," Ron used Photoshop to compose the scene from various scanned and composed layers. The intent of the illustration was to help visualize the camera angle and rocket path for the director and special effects supervisor, and there are several versions of this image with the rocket ship viewed from various angles. The dramatic earth sunset, moon and stars were painted using Photoshop tools. The rocket ship was a photograph of a miniature that was scanned, imported and manipulated through Photoshop. The rocket flares were added using Photoshop filters and paint tools.

In the illustration "Armageddon Chrysler Tower Collapse," Ron used a photograph of a Los Angeles street in the foreground, combining it with a photograph of the Chrysler Building base on its street in New York in the background. The top of the Chrysler Building crashing into the street is a photograph of a miniature created for the movie. Ron manipulated this photo with all the other elements in Photoshop. This key frame permitted the Director to visualize the impact of the scene as scripted.

In the illustration "Casino Weekend," a concept piece currently in development for a TV series called "Galactic Highway," Ron took a completely different approach involving the use of Bryce, a 3D graphics software, and Photoshop for imagery creation and manipulation. His final presentation also involved animation of the vehicle flying toward the casino.

 

The objects in the scene were first built in Bryce's 3D wireframe environment per the illustration entitled "Bryce Wireframe." The car is a combination 1977 Thunderbird and various rocket engines. The frame of the billboard is wireframe with 3D textures added, but the actual sign (see "Hotel Billboard") was composed in Photoshop, then imported into the Bryce environment and manipulated in 3D space. The floating hotel/casino is also a 3D wireframe object, textured with Bryce textures and lights. 

The horsehead nebula background is a Hubble telescope photograph imported by scanner and manipulated in Photoshop. These elements, once composited in the Bryce environment, where the artist has the ability to move the camera and the objects relative to one another in any direction, can finally be rendered to a final key frame. The artist also has the ability to control lighting in the 3D environment, e.g., the angle of the sun, the intensity of the lights on the billboard, and the reflection of the rocket engines. Once a series of key frames are rendered, an animation can be created to add yet another dimension to the presentation.

The illustrations "Lips" and "Stratocaster" were concepts for a music video and were rendered in Bryce using wireframe objects placed around the 3D environment and distorted using the Bryce camera lens control.

 

 

 

These illustrations and animations were created in a fraction of the time that it would have taken without the use of computers and software. They provide an indication of the direction in which flights of imagination in film can be conceived and fully realized without the enormous outlay of capital and time formerly required.

 

ARTtalk
...the link between you, the visual artist, and the manufacturer of art materials.
ARTtalk is a monthly eight-page newsletter available FREE-OF-CHARGE from Participating Art Material Retailers in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques--how to work and paint with watercolor, oils, or acrylics; use pastels or pen and ink, airbrush, and more. You'll find information on art history, current events and art world news, as well as an occasional "Kids' Korner." Subjects vary and change each month.

AIRPOURRI

Airbrush - General

Airbrush Expo - June 24-25 - New Atlantic City Convention Center, NJ - Sponsored by Airbrush Action magazine. 1-800-876-2472.

Models

International Miniature Collectibles Trade Show - August 14-16 - Adam's Mark Hotel, Philadelphia, PA - Miniatures Industry Association of America. (614) 452-4541.

East Coast Large-Scale Train Show - August 28-29 - Garden State Exhibition Center, Somerset, NJ - JJ Productions - (718) 788-0516.

Signs

The B.I.G. Show - June 8-10 - Columbus, OH - Best in Graphics - (303) 469-0424; www.nbm.com/bigshow.

Letterheads 2000 - July 13-16 - Boise Convention Center, Boise, ID - Contact Noel B. Weber, e-mail: classic@micron.net; www.primenet.com/-signguy.

Signs Now - August 9-12 - Wyndham Palace, Orlando, FL - (727) 548-7200.

 

Look for the next issue of AirbrushTalk©--July 15, 2000