Tag Archives: drawing

odd guy’s index

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

T-shirt designs created: 16
• Miles walked/ran for mobile business meetings: 124
• Ranking of “raspberry” among best-selling OGA cap colors: 1
• Hours spent ironing tote bags: 35
• Number of T-shirt-shaped OGA brochure designs created: 2
• OGA YouTube videos launched: 6
• Number of foreign cameo appearances in videos: 1
• Number of cameo appearances by Walmart employees: 1
• Number of small fires accidentally set during filming: 2
• Penalty points assigned for finger quotes during filming: 10
• Hours spent editing footage: 853
• Size of OGA festival canopy: 10′ X 10′
• Ratio of Diet Cokes consumed to ounces of water: 245 to 1
• Miles biked round-trip to printer, per trip: 26
• Ranking of EnMart among most-active OGA Facebook friends: 1
• Number of celebrities named Yoko Ono who follow OGA on Twitter: 1
• Number of national magazines that featured OGA on the cover: 3
• Number of stores in which OGA shirts are currently sold: 3

Thank you for joining us in this, our first year of business. If you have any questions, or if we can help you in any way, just let us know!

Marie and Graham

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a fresh look at faces

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.

Cheers!

Marie
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poll: how do YOU overcome designer’s block?

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!

Thanks!
Marie and Graham

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how can we help you?

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.

Cheers!
Marie and Graham

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All content and images;
Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.

what is art?

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.

Artfully yours,
Marie
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Sheboygan: Small Works Project

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.

Graham

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Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.

if I had a million dollars

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.

Thank you.

Marie

the last supper: from painting to T-shirt

I’m sure everyone out there in T-shirt-design-land has similar stories about how their designs came to fruition, but this one really puts the “fruit” in “fruition.” (*groan*).

Several years ago, I painted a watercolor still life called “Last Supper.” All I knew at first when considering the composition was that I wanted to paint pears; they’re so lovely and sensual. As I was playing around with the set-up, the idea to line up the pears like the apostles in the famous DaVinci painting just kind of struck out of nowhere. I headed to the library, checked out a book on DaVinci, and meticulously arranged the pears just so. The Judas pear even has a bruise.

So when we first considered designing T-shirts, I knew I wanted to convert this idea into a shirt design. Considering the screen printing process and hoping to keep costs down, I re-drew the image as a two-color design, with the third color represented by the shirt showing through, like this:

Most people do not get the DaVinci comparison at first glance, so if you saw it right away I give you major bonus points. To me, it’s just great fun to see this painting converted to a T-shirt. It’ll get more exposure this way, I hope, and sharing one’s ideas is what art is all about.

Enjoy!

Marie

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Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.

evolution of the “Bird Mechanics” design

So, how do we go about creating our designs? As fine artists you can be certain of one thing: We never use clip art. We would cut off our hands first! Here is a brief explanation of our process. Our ideas can come from anywhere, really; sometimes as ideas sketched in the early hours, sometimes from conversations, sometimes pure inspiration.

In the case of the design which became “Bird Mechanics,” I remember Marie saying to me, “I’d like to do something with gears.”

I replied, “Leave that with me.”

I decided to do something along the lines of an automaton. These are typically figures, animals, or artworks animated by the use of hand- or clockwork-driven gears, pulleys, and bits of string and wire. These are delightful devices, particularly popular in the Victorian era, yet still made and enjoyed today.

This is my original sketch:
I pictured a blackbird or crow in flight whose wings are operated by pushrods. These pushrods are driven by a series of gears which in turn are powered by a hand crank with chain drive. All very practical.

I imagined the gears to be made from brass with a black bird and chain. At this stage the whole contraption was to be mounted on a base with a structure to support the various gears.

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In the next stage I developed the gear drive and chain-driven cogs using a variety of scaleable gears in Adobe Illustrator. Once satisfied with the layout, I printed this and added the rest of the image with graphite pencil. This was now approximately full size. This image was then scanned and passed over to Marie for further rendering.

Now, Marie took the design into Quark Express and drew the whole design by hand using the Beziér pen tool to create the lines and shapes. Her attention to detail at this stage has to be seen to be believed. I thought I was a perfectionist until I saw her work. When you see the design on your own shirt you will certainly come to appreciate her skills, too.

During this stage, we continued to discuss the design and develop the idea. As you can see from the final design here, we removed the whole base. Is the bird operating the machine, or the machine operating the bird? We like the ambiguity introduced by removing the base. We also changed the attitude of the bird after looking at many photo references.

The final colour choice was made at this stage, too. This design is a two-colour design and is printed that way. (In some cases, such as “The Last Supper,” Marie used the shirt colour as a third colour in the design). Finally the design is sent to Adobe Acrobat for conversion to the file format required by our screen printer.

Our process is an interesting mix of traditional fine art skills and contemporary computer-based graphic design. I hope that you have found this insight into our method interesting and that it will add a little to your enjoyment of any shirt, bag, or art card that you may purchase from us at “odd guy art.”

Graham.

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Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.