As our one year anniversary approaches, let’s take a look at what we’ve accomplished, shall we? • Hours spent defining and researching our target audience: 84
• Number of logo fonts considered before deciding on “Hasty Pudding:” 23
• Number of hours logged on Skype: 328
• Miles from Lake Michigan our OGA studio is located: .2
• Hours spent hand-drawing much of website: 42
Today a friend of mine posted a photo of her mother on Facebook, and I commented on how much they looked alike. Faces, like all 3-dimensional objects, contain geometric shapes, and when those shapes are positioned at similar angles and have similar proportions, you get similar faces.
This is usually the result of familial biology, but sometimes two unrelated strangers are mistaken as twins or siblings. (This happens to me frequently, as I live in a city wherein another woman my age has similar coloring and facial structure. We’ve been mistaken for each other for decades).
As a portrait artist, I’m fascinated with faces. When I’m out people-watching (a favorite activity), I see the ovals and cones and spheres in every face. I weigh the angles and proportions of the underlying bone and muscle structure that gives each face its unique appearance, and imagine how I’d draw each one.
The most common mistake made by beginning artists when attempting to render the human face is to draw what they think they see instead of what they really see. For example, we all consciously know that there are two tiny facial holes called “nostrils,” yet those holes are often drawn by beginners as black circles, giving the face a porcine-like appearance.
BEFORE: Disproportionate Features
In reality, nostrils are neither circular nor on a vertical plane. Look again. Nostrils are typically an asymmetrical oval (though the shape varies widely) and, when looking straight on, lie on a nearly horizontal plane (depending on the nose shape). From a straight-on perspective, nostrils are hidden almost entirely, and might only be rendered as subtle curves or indentations along the bottom edge of the nose.
AFTER: Proportionate Features
But that is just one example. Each part of the face requires a great deal of observation before putting graphite or paint to canvas. I urge each of you – especially those who say “I can’t draw faces!” – to spend some time really looking at the human face. What a fascinating and diverse subject.
Many of you in the T-shirt design world find yourselves looking for that one perfect concept – a design with that special something that catches on globally and launches you into extravagant T-shirt-selling wealth.
For those of you who’ve watched “The Making of ‘odd guy art’ Part 2: The Designing,” you already know what a mentally-challenging and physically-taxing process T-shirt design can be. Sure, it’s fun; but sometimes “fun” can be fleeting when you’re faced with mounting bills and, in Graham’s case, an ongoing tea addiction.
Plus, there are as many potential T-shirt options as there are people on the planet (6,894,185,175 as of press time). When faced with a blank computer screen or canvas, where does your inspiration typically come from?
Take a second to click below and add your voice to this universal question!
Well, good morning! Come on in and make yourself at home. There’s some coffee over in the corner there and a blank easel for the kids to draw on while you shop.
Ah, good question. We mainly design and sell our own T-shirts featuring the kind of art we ourselves are drawn to; art that is odd or witty or cool.
See this shirt here? It’s based on DaVinci’s “Last Supper,” only it’s also a still life of pears. Like all our shirts, it’s screen printed on 100% cotton.
And since we often hang out and work in coffee shops, we were intrigued by the artwork that the baristas make in the foam of their lattes. That’s what inspired this shirt:
And if you’re like us, we find mechanical designs as fun as the are perplexing. This design begs the question, “Is the bird operating the gears or are the gears operating the bird?”
Thanks! We’re glad you like them so far. Might we interest you in a shirt that reflects our enthusiasm for bicycling? (You’ll soon recognize a theme here):
If you grew up in the 60s or 70s (or even if you didn’t), you might appreciate the sentiment behind this bit of nostalgia: The next set of shirts are sure to be conversation starters. They’re based on historical events that never actually happened. Try this one on for size:
Bet you didn’t know that there was also a Victorian-era “Run to Eradicate Rickets” in 1862. Here’s “proof:”
And the 1918 London Triumvirate? The European precursor to the modern-day triathlon? It’s all right here on the shirt:
Sure, you can try them on. The fitting rooms are over there next to the Monet. Go on. We’ll wait!
Oh, I see the women’s cut is a little snug on you, sir. You’ll want to try the roomier Mens/Unisex style. All shirts come in both cuts.
Ah yes, you’re referring to the little guy printed on the back of each T-shirt. That’s our logo, “odd guy art,” whose face changes color with every shirt: Our shirts are all pre-washed, so don’t worry about them shrinking. Have you decided on purchasing something today? (Pause). What?! You want one of each? Excellent, sir! Graham will ring you up back at the register (just right of the Renoir) while I refold your shirts and bag them for you.
Thank you for stopping at “odd guy art!” Feel free to visit our online store.
Back in college, I had an art professor who voiced an interesting theory: That a work of “art” should be defined by the artist’s ability to bring something into existence from his own imagination that did not exist before.
This professor then went on to say that a sculpture like Michelangelo’s “David” did not meet this criterion because it was commissioned by the Overseers of the Office of Works of the Duomo. In other words, because Michelangelo was paid to render someone else’s idea, “David” was not, by her definition, “art.”
On the other hand, this professor continued, Marcel Duchamp’s store-bought shovel propped in an exhibit gallery corner and titled “In Advance of the Broken Arm;” now THAT was art. It represented, she said, a completely original idea depicting the artist’s “leap of faith” in considering an ordinary object with irony and humor.
While I understand my professor’s intent (sort of), I can’t help but compare these two pieces of artwork and conclude that my professor (with all due respect) had sniffed too much turpentine. The skill and interpretation and knowledge and passion and GENIUS that Michelangelo utilized when creating “David” – who began as a 17-foot block of marble and who’s figure is so beautifully detailed you can see his VEINS – puts the store-bought shovel to shame.
Digital "Book Illustration" by Ture Ekroos
But I still struggle at times with how to define “art.” As an artist with a Fine Arts degree who also creates artwork on a computer, I often run into people who prefer to call me a “designer,” as if my work isn’t “real art” because it wasn’t created with a paint brush. I’ve heard this said about illustrators as well; even though there exists some utterly gorgeous book illustrations, they aren’t considered in the same league as what hangs in (or what’s propped in the corner of) a gallery.
How do YOU define “art?” Drop us a comment and let us know.
I am very happy to have been able to participate in a novel and important project; the “Small Works Project” by the Sheboygan Visual Artists. Over the last few months, SVA has provided as many as three hundred 8″x10″ canvases. Local artists have used these canvases to create works of art of all types and then donated them back to SVA.
Tickets were then sold at $25 each, and were randomly assigned to the individual canvases. The money raised will fund an “Art in the Parks” program which will send SVA artists into parks, playgrounds, and other public places this summer to offer arts workshops for kids, teens, and adults.
We at “odd guy art” feel that this is a great cause. Time was tight for us, so I volunteered to be part of the project. I chose to work in acrylics and create what I call a megalithic landscape. I have a small series of these paintings which feature ancient standing stones in British landscapes. The scene I painted for this project is of two standing stones which are known as “Giants Graves.” These stones are the remains of a Bronze Age cairn circle near Kirkstanton in Cumbria, England. Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland, and the other islands of the UK have many megalithic sites still standing.
“Giants Graves” complete.
I have no idea who ended up with my painting, but I hope that whoever it is will enjoy it. Even more important is that the “Small Works Project” has been a great success.
I’m not a horder. In fact, if I don’t use something for a year, it’s gone. I don’t like collecting things; not shoes or thimbles or jewelry or Precious Moments figurines (*retch*). “The less you have, the less you have to maintain.” That’s my credo.
Which is why, if I had a million dollars, I’d prefer to GIVE our T-shirts away. I’d love to see our designs on the backs of all those who love and appreciate them. No more inventory, no more sales, no more taxing and shipping. Just stop by and ask for a shirt, and voila! It’s yours.
A customer browses through "odd guy art" wear.
But alas, that’s a utopian vision that cannot thrive in the real world (not without our inevitable starvation). So we’re forced to ask for your hard-earned dollars in exchange for our merchandise, because that’s how the system works. (We initially tried using the barter system, but weren’t sure how many beaver pelts to ask for in exchange for a shirt).
We do want you to know, however, that we deeply appreciate your business. Whether you’ve bought some “odd guy art” already or plan to do so in the future, our gratitude runs deep. Please pass the “odd guy art” dream along to your friends and colleagues, family members and acquaintances.