"Build a good name", rock poet Patti Smith advises the young. "Life is like a roller coaster, it is going to have beautiful moments but it is going to be real fucked up, too", she says.
The American singer, poet and photographer Patti Smith (b. 1946) is a living punk rock legend. In this video she gives advice to the young:
"Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency. Life is like a roller coaster ride, it is never going to be perfect. It is going to have perfect moments and rough spots, but it’s all worth it", Patti Smith says.
Interview by Christian Lund, the Louisiana Literature festival August 24, 2012, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Produced by Honey Biba Beckerlee and Kamilla Bruus.
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Meet more artists at channel.louisiana.dk
Louisiana Channel is a non-profit video channel for the Internet launched by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in November 2012. Each week Louisiana Channel will publish videos about and with artists in visual art, literature, architecture, design etc.
Read more: channel.louisiana.dk/about
Supported by Nordea-fonden.
This is great advice - not just for the young - but for everyone. Very inspiring video.
Ahem. A Manga Artist?
August 8, 2011
I just noticed that gfxinc.com was really nice and added a link to my website for giving them a nice testimonial. I did really like their service etc. They have me listed as a manga artist, and it isn't the first time I have seen that. I do use software called Manga Studio. I still love using it. More than any other drawing software I have EVER used. Including all the big names. I am, however not a manga artist. Whoever is coming to my site looking for manga will be largely disappointed, although I am grateful and happy to have the link to my site none-the-less.
So, apologies for any confusion. My guess is this post isn't going to help me...I said the M word too many times.
I might as well use this opportunity to also update you on the software itself. I am still learning how to get the most out of it. Rulers still have me flummoxed. I have become AFRAID of them. But I haven't spent much time trying to figure them out and how they work with the other layers. I have always hated using rulers or measuring things. I was terrible at pattern-making at fashion design school and I can't bake because I like to freestyle it. The slightest challenge using them and I become intimidated by it. All that to say, it may not be the software - it might be me.
There are little things that drive me nuts too. I find that it sometimes switches inexplicably to Gray - a halftone dot brush - and I don't always notice it right away - which means I have to redo the line. I thought it was because my palm kept hitting it (I use a tablet-computer) - but now I am not so sure. Still trying to figure that one out. (update: I figured it out and it is very easy. Haven't a clue as to why I couldn't figure it out before!)
I'd like to see a few things added to the software. Additional brush styles - watercolour would be nice.
I'd like it to be easier to move pages around in order. Right now I can't seem to do it at all without completely messing up the folders and making it impossible to go through the whole document afterwords in Story view - or print it as a complete story. I have to assemble it page by page if I want to change the layout and need to reorder the book. That is a big one for me.
Another big problem is I can't select all layers at once. If I need to move something - I have to move it one layer at a time - then realign it all, then merge the layers onto their proper layer. Aaargh! I keep trying to find a way - it shouldn't be that difficult. Please fix that!!!
Otherwise, the software is a dream to use, very responsive. I feel like I am using my watercolour palette whenever I use the beginner's assistant - and it feels very natural. I haven't used Photoshop or Painter on this tablet - but I can tell you Corel is absolutely useless. I used to be a fan. This version of Corel Photopaint and CorelDraw was supposed to be made for the tablet especially. It is slow, complicated, and nowhere near as natural and easy a feel. I bought it and it was a complete waste of my money. I never use it.
With Manga Studio I use identical methods that I used when I did watercolor inks. I no longer have to buy and go through sheets and sheets of tracing paper. I have no mess to clean up. My arms and nose aren't covered in pencil smudge anymore, and it has sped up my process a thousand-fold. I would recommend it to anybody. And it is an incredibly affordable price for the artist. I bought the EX version ($299) which does Vector within the same software. However, I could have just as easily bought the 49$ Debut version since everything I have done so far has been with the tools available in the Debut version. ALL the work on this website was created using Manga Studio. Although there are a few things that REALLY need tweaking, it is so worth the workaround that I am prepared to deal with it for the pleasure it gives me to use everyday.
Update (shortly thereafter) by little jo
Well, ask and ye shall receive...I had asked for a watercolour brush and what do I discover today?! That the pencil brush can have many of the same effects as a watercolour brush if you de-select the Compare Darkness Compositing button and set the pencil to taper at both ends. It will layer just like a watercolor brush. At first, I didn't see in the Draw Layer section - probably because I used the beginner's assistant a lot and for some reason it isn't there. They could easily modify it - or add that button to the other brushes and pens. That would be great. It also can have a similar effect to a chalk pencil or pastel depending how you do your strokes. The finer the brush - the more it seems to resemble a chalk pencil. I think I am going to play around coloring with this technique. Think I might use it for the next WIP.
Update April 24, 2013 *Please note these prices above are for Version 4. They have just come out with version 5 and I can't wait to upgrade to it. Even the Debut version of version 5, at only $79.99 for new purchasers has nearly everything the previous EX version had - plus a few other things I had been hoping they would provide like a 'multiply layer' feature. You could always do several layers - but now you can integrate the layers as in Photoshop.
Also, since writing the previous blog post, I have got a real good handle on rulers, symmetry rulers which are great for making patterns, logos, and various designs (I used them to make the art nouveau covers for Paris Ballad), and I am beginning to get a handle on the perspective rulers. The amazing thing I also found is you can get your tones to follow your perspective rulers, so floor tiles, wall papers in scenes easily look accurate. This software is the best value out there and I really highly recommend it. Better than ANYTHING out there and more comprehensive than Adobe. You get so much in one very reasonably priced program.
New Tools - Manga Software + A Tablet
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Getting the right tools. It is so important. Certainly, once you have them, suddenly they are critical. Like having a great knife if you are a chef. For myself it comes down to the right computer and the right software. And I think I finally found all the right tools. Thank you technology!
I just got my brand new HP TM2 2050 tablet computer
and though there have been, and continue to be a couple of quirks, namely when I shut down in tablet position it stays there when I relaunch - so that at first, everything is upside down. That is easily fixed by putting the tablet back in tablet position and then back in computer position again. Another quirk that I haven't found an easy fix for is the pen sometimes goes in the opposite direction than the way I am moving - I found just closing and opening the program resets it...but I do wish it wouldn't do that.
I would like the descriptions in the 'context' menu for tools to show up above the tool rather than below as my pen and hand block the descriptions. I hope I can find something that will adjust that.
Otherwise, it is a dream machine and everything I hoped it would be. The learning curve on the new Windows 7 is a bit of a challenge. It would have been nice if they included more tips and instructions - especially for tablet users - as some things don't work the same way in tablet position.
Now, for Manga Studio.
I purchase the EX Hybrid version, which is the full professional version good for Mac & PC and it is priced at 299.99
Right out of the box this software was immediately useable and useful. The very user friendly beginner panel is right there. With a number of different tools and layer options to work with, I can create a sketch in 'blue pencil' and then when I am ready...the magic begins with inking. Now inking has thus far been my least favorite thing to do prior to getting this software. Now I think it is my favorite thing. All my lines are smoothed and perfected. The range of tools and the beautiful pressure-sensitivity I get from my pen tablet on the screen is amazing. It just looks so professional and better than when I draw with pen and paper. Editing is easier and no more smudgy pencil on my face, arms, hands etc. I may never use pencil and paper again to sketch - this program is that good. I should add that the tools will, for the most part, be identical to those you are used to in Photoshop and that alone shortens the learning curve quite a bit. The language is familiar (nodes are called vertices though).
It will provide a number of layers and options (though it will allow only 2 colours plus transparency per layer) convert photos into tone images for use in drawings, and has a 3d design element as well - which I am not at all familiar with yet. It handles full color in CMYK or RGB. It also, within the same program, does VECTOR! It is like having illustrator and photoshop in one little compact and beautiful program. update: actually it does as many layers as I want and unlimited colours per layer. again - (what was i thinking when I wrote this?) You can also save to Photoshop PSD layered file with a limit of 5 layers exporting and it seems unlimited importing.
So far, I have done sketching with amazing results, imported line art I did by hand and re-inked it so that now it is MUCH better. You can set it up like a proper book with pagination, doublepage spreads, a variety of layouts for comics and manga, and add text and more to it.
This program is fully compatible with Photoshop and I expect Corel Photopaint as well, since it will import and export all layers (if selected) as a PSD or TIFF file.
I look forward to sharing with you shortly some of my new work created with my new awesome tools.
Update April 25, 2013: I have been using this computer for nearly 3 years now and must say I have been totally thrilled with it - which is why I am a little disappointed that I won't be able to buy it when I am ready to get a new computer. At least that is what it looks like. To get even comparable to what I already have from HP, I actually have to pay nearly $1000 dollars more than I paid for this one. i don't get it. Very likely I will be moving to Asus which seems to be developing quality pen-enabled and pressure sensitive tablet PCs. I do hope that HP gets it together and realizes that they have a real market here if they just do it right. I could have sold thousands of these computers as people were amazed with what I was doing on it and how affordable and flexible it was. Seems a shame that they will be losing a customer that was a huge fan of their tech.
I had been quite disappointed at first when I found out that I could no longer use Squarespace to create my website. I had been using them for about 4 years or so and thought that it was a pretty good service. When they were not able to take alternative payment arrangements and it was credit card only--I began looking for alternatives. There were a number of possible candidates. All comparable in price - except for one. Weebly. It was totally free. i found that oddly a little disconcerting at first. I thought there must be a catch. There must be something that is missing. Perhaps I won't be able to use my domain name. Perhaps something along the way that I really need - I'll have to upgrade for--but every review I read, raved about it being one of the very best, if not the best on the market. Regardless of price. So I decided to test it out. Even if I did need to upgrade to a paid version - even they were cheaper than all the rest. I had nothing to lose.
The templates weren't as exciting as I had hoped they would be - however, with a little tweak to the html/css I was able to reduce the header size and space between the navigation to something that worked for my taste. After that everything else was so easily customizable in blocks that I am really quite impressed. Clever use of the columns and you have a very personalized site. It actually gives me MUCH more than Squarespace ever did, and I pay nothing! I can transfer my existing domain name to it - FOR FREE! I can create beautiful slideshows, online stores (though I am not even using their system for that in mine), and frankly it is much more flexible and easier to design than anything I have ever used. So, there is one catch. There is a small 'Create a free site with Weebly" in the footer. That's it. I certainly don't mind promoting them for free for all that they give me for free. I want to shout from the rooftops how great it is. I have realized I have been paying $90/year for nothing. Wish I had come here sooner!
I thought it might be a good idea to transfer some of the articles from my previous site blog. So here is the best of the blog.
Guangxi, China - Around the World in 80 Illustrations
I have always wanted to go to Guilin because of the beautiful karst formations along the Li River. A while back I watched a program on the entire Guangxi area (Lonely Planet, I think )and it visited a Longhorn Miao village and then I REALLY wanted to go. As much as the landscape draws me to a place, it is the people and their cultural traditions that draws me even more.
There are many different kinds of Miao (Hmong) people which are an ethnic minority in China.The Longhorn Miao are fascinating to me because they wear the hair (mixed with wool) of their mother, and I think also their grandmother, on their head wrapped around a crescent shaped horn. They are renowned for their beautiful embroidery and batik work. I love that they dress so traditionally and yet finish the look off with running shoes. The Dong people, also an ethnic minority in the area, are known for their beautiful architecture. The Water Buffalo is native to the area and a common sight, along with rafts of cormorant fishermen. The landscape that I chose to depict in the image, are Elephant Trunk Hill which is the symbol of Guilin, and Pagoda Hill, some general karst formations along the Li River, and the Dragon's backbone rice terraces. To see the rest of the illustrations in this series visit Around the World in 80 Illustrations section of this site.
Socotra, Yemen - Around the World in 80 Illustrations
Often called the strangest place on earth, and the whole archipelego declared a UNESCO site...Socotea, Yemen is replete with the strangest plants and many creatures that are endemic to the island, and completely unique and alien in appearance. The waters which have abundant fishing, and great diving, I could no represent here...sacrificed for what is remarkable and unique about this place. Dragon's blood trees whose sap runs red and from which the famed dye cinnabar comes from, strange bottle plants, also called desert roses, odd aloes and plants that would look more at home underwater, and the very famous frankincense trees from which the incense comes from. Remarkable mountaintop mini-cities, and amazing caves, some of which are homes. Men greet each other by touching noses, and egyptian vultures keeping watch over all atop roofs. This, however is not one of my favorite illustrations in the series, I have already redone it twice and I may have to go back and do it a third time. To see the rest of the illustrations in this series visit Around the World in 80 Illustrations section of this site. (Image coming soon!)
Kerala, India - Around the World in 80 Illustrations
Kerala, India is a beautiful place that is very high on my list of places I want to go to. There is so much to commend it, that I had a very hard time selecting elements to show. What initially drew me in was the exotic and romantic houseboats that can range from simple to very luxurious that travel the backwaters there. There are a plethora of wildlife preserves for birds, tigers, elephants, lion tailed macaques, leopards, and soooo much more. India as a whole is a colourful place, however Kerala takes that one step further and contains a city called Auroville which is a modern, sustainable and experimental city whose mission is human unity.
Kerala is an excellent choice for that as it is, like Toronto, a place where people of all religions and races live in harmony. The difference is they have done so for thousands of years. There is a Jewish population that has been there since the days of Solomon, there is a Christian population called the St. Thomas Christians that trace their history to when St. Thomas came to evangelize back in the 1st century. There are also, of course, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. It is diverse in many, many ways. Kerala has the highest literacy rate IN THE WORLD! So much to love. I can't wait to go there one day.
What I have selected to illustrate: Kalaripayattu - which is the mother of all martial arts and originates from Kerala; a lion-tailed macaque; the hornbill (which is the state bird); in lieu of an actual tiger - a tiger dancer from the tiger festival; in lieu of an elephant - Ganesha,; Onapottan - the harbinger of prosperity which is from Northern Kerala; and one of those romantic houseboats which drew me in to discover the place to begin with. Kerala is one of National Geographic's 100 places to see before you die. The only other place in India on that list is the Taj Mahal.
To see the rest of the illustrations in this series visit Around the World in 80 Illustrations section of this site.
Yap, Micronesia - Around the World in 80 Illustrations
For the 2nd illustration in this series, I am going to Yap, in Micronesia. Yap is on my bucket list of places to go to for a number of reasons. Firstly, I love to scuba dive and Yap has stellar scuba diving. It is famous for it's Manta Ray Bay, where huge schools of manta ray come to get cleaned by pretty little wrasses and angelfish.
Another thing Yap is unique and famous for is its stone money. Very large and heavy stones, often quartz are quarried on other islands, and brought to Yap at great danger by canoe. The value of the stones is dependant on how dangerous and difficult the journey was to bring the stone over. It isn't always the biggest stone that has the most value either. This money still has value among the islanders today, though when the value is traded - the stone might not actually move from it's place as it can take as many as 20 men to move a stone.
These islanders are expert navigators and use the stars to find their course. They travel in canoes that are rigged with a mainsail. They also still keep traditional clothing customs of grass skirts, bare breasts, flowers for men and women as decoration, and have several different types of dances. To see the rest of the illustrations in this series visit Around the World in 80 Illustrations section of this site.
A Japanese & A Mexican folktale
I recently finished the final art for a Japanese Folktalke that I was hired to illustrate. Even though I know I did a very good job on it and was very pleased with my work - which is always a good sign, you never know, so handing it in is kind of scary. I hoped they would like it.
This was the reaction of the art buyer who contracted me:
"Your final art is stunning! I love it! You have done such a lovely job with this story and I hope that the client is as excited as I am with the final outcome. We appreciate the time and professionalism that you gave to this project. I hope that I can find another manuscript in the program that would be a good match for your illustration style. I actually have a Mexican folktale that I am still looking for artists for. If you might have an interest, please let me know."
Well, I was both thrilled and interested in the Mexican Folktale! My name was submitted as a possible illustrator for this and the publisher chose me to do it! I am very excited about working on this next project. I wish I could share with you some of the artwork that I did, as I think it is my best work, but it is part of my contract that I can't until it is published - which won't be for another year. But stay tuned. As soon as I can, I will. If you are an editor, agent, art buyer, or art director please click here to get exclusive access to these illustrations.
Conquering Stereotypes...Of Myself!
I seem to be 'known' for doing Asian culture in my drawings, and I don't want potential clients from thinking that is all I do. So, to that end, I have started a new series, Around the World in 80 Illustrations. My goal/new years resolution is to also slow down and refine my work more.
I have started the series in Canada...looks like I am starting in the west with the Haida.
I was thinking about #Idlenomore while doing it and did my own version of the Dogfish woman on the drum in honor of Chief Theresa Spense.
From http://www.geocities.ws/smkruta/symbolism.html :
The dogfish woman represents persistence & strength. Innate leadership. The Dogfish Woman is the most prominent Shark in Haida legends. It’s considered a family crest of Haida royalty. All other Sharks are referred to as "Dogfish Mother’. In addition to the Shark-like features, the Dogfish Woman wears a labret in her lower lip which is traditionally worn by artistocratic Haida women. The Dogfish is one of the most powerful crests that is associated with feminine qualities.
Above is the final pencil for Around the World in 80 Illustrations - Haida.
I am not going to do inks for this, just keeping a tight purpley brown pencil line. I like it like this, but am going to do a colour version too. To see the final version o of the illustrations in this series visit Around the World in 80 Illustrations section of this site.
My Home And Native Land.
Posted Monday, January 18, 2010
well, I am gently moving away from my Japan research and obsession and moving towards researching and developing work inspired by Northwest Coast Native Art. I was looking for some books to inspire me and found this which was good and I am still reading it. http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/HOLNWC.html
but what really was wonderful was Learning by Designing - Northwest Coast Native Indian Art. Very helpful. http://www.ravenpublishing.com/designvol1.htm
I also fell in complete love with this Haida Manga artist/founder Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. His work reminds me of Georgia O'keeffe another favorite artist of mine - meets Hokusai - meets Haida. Incredible. Check out his work called War of the Blink and Red. Incredible work. His website is www.haidamanga.com and his blog (with more wonderful images of his shows etc.) Above is a couple of sample images from his work.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is showing the latest manifestation of Haida manga starting on Feb 5. It is a 4 meter long mural, the originals paintings for the book, RED, a Haida Manga. http://www.dmpibooks.com/book/red
Also on exhibit is RED, Haida Manga Party Mix, a four minute music video co created with Cris Derksen. http://www.myspace.com/crisderksen
The Bone Box is permanently displayed at the new MOA in Vancouver and the first permanent exterior Haida manga sculpture, Take Off can be seen at the Thunderbird Winter Sports Arena at the University of British Columbia.
This spring will also see the release of Haida manga in "Declaration of Interdependence" (David Suzuki) and Little Hummingbird both released by Greystone Books. http://www.dmpibooks.com/book/the-little-hummingbird
Benjamin Brown Books will also release "He called her Loo Taas" by haida author Amanda Reid Stevens and including some Haida manga.
Finally for anyone in Germany ZDF television will air an interview on Haida Manga after Feb 8th. The interviewer is Wolf Christian Ulrich.
Thank you for your generous words.
January 30, 2010 | michael nicoll yahgulanaas
Update April 24, 2013: I have since purchased Red, which is a tale of vengeance and has very much a dark quality to the story though it is painted in glorious bright colours, and The Little Hummingbird which is a traditional folktale that he illustrated with black and white line art. i was not disappointed.