Friday, February 27, 2015

Color Theory and a Bird

I've been feeling a return to illustration, because I'm challenging myself to learn color theory. I remember the day I opened junior high science textbook and realized I was color blind when I failed the Ishihara tests in it. I was actually ashamed and until now I've used my color blindness as a default excuse to stay clueless about the nature of color. If I can't even discern a good chunk of the color spectrum, what kind of hope could I have as an artist?

In high school, rather than admit my color blindness to my art teacher, I cheated on my color wheel assignment by coaxing a couple classmates to do it for me. In 1999 I did my first collaboration with the talented Darrin Moore, a digital colorist in the comic book industry. For about the next 15 years he colored my way through all of my best known illustrative work. I can never repay the debt of gratitude I owe that guy, but with him at my side I was also unwittingly perpetuating my color ignorance which hasn't done my personal work any favors. It's not like I only see black and white, so it's time to work with it!

While this bird illustration is no exercise in color theory itself, it does mark my intentions to return to illustration and tackle it. I'm anxious to see how some knowledge and experimentation with color might help me develop a comfortable palette for my work.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Missing the Coca Leaf

I was sitting overwhelmed with reevaluation when a young Peruvian man came to me and smiled as he handed me a few small leaves. In broken English he described what I should do with one of them. I didn't know what they were and I didn't think to ask. Soon a subtle calm hummed through me and I continued my reflection with some clarity of thought.

Exactly five coca leaves have met my teeth. The final three were savored months apart from one another, because I knew I'd miss them and couldn't imagine running into more when they were gone. I've been right about that for six years.