23 Jun 2013

Book Review: Watercolor, Paintings by Contemporary Artists

Amy Ross

Becca Stadtlander

Danny Gregory

Daire Lynch

Paolo Terdich

John Norman Stewart

Amy Park

Sujean Rim

Jane Mount

Fabrice Moireau

Well hello summer, hello everyone! We are having a great "summer" here in "sunny" Portugal with the scorching heights of 20'C, well I guess you can't have everything eh?

We have a book review today here on Rally with the absolutely lovely, Watercolor, Paintings by Contemporary Artists. The book showcases some great talent in the medium of watercolour with a wide range of styles and approaches, from the fresh crystal clear visuals of Daire Lynch to the sweet gentle tones of Sujean Rim, and the masters of the craft like Fabrice Moireau there are many eye grabbing uses of watercolour in great palettes. Every artist who is familiar with the medium will recognise common themes and reasons for using watercolour, it's unforgiving nature, the unpredictability. nowadays watercolour can seem like a noble challenge in the modern world of near infinite undos, and cloud based art software. Each set of plates is accompanied by a great little artist bio which gives you the scoop on what makes them tick.

It is certainly worth a look as the illustrations are stunning and the book itself is well put together, The artists are universally good, some are really top draw and the book itself is a great research resource as well as a nice thing to have for the sake of the artwork. Well recommended if slightly unimaginatively titled!

With much love, the IR.

Exhibition feature: Stephen Chan and Friends Presents

It's exhibition feature time now here on the rally and we have something totally boxfresh for you guys now, with Stephen Chan and Friends Presents curated by the irrepressible graphic master Stephen Chan. For this, his first solo stint, he has rather graciously decided to share the limelight with other global artists and creators,in fantastic Hong Kong gallery/cafe Odd One Out crafting a really unique mashup of retro anaglyph, cutting edge visuals and CG animation. Among the other visual eye snacks were paper toy creations in an event so cool that hipster's pints are freezing solid from Toronto to Hackney.

Recently featured on Kotaku, Chan is repainting the definition of global scene with his globetrotting squad of international art pirates and is at the forefront of the new age of illustration, carved out by the naive pioneers and built on with ever slicker and more intelligent content underpinned with a new wave mass market social delivery. This is the time that art can cut the corporate corners and punch you in the consumer gob with a big refreshing pile of eye fire. Note to self, do more, travel more create more. It's hard not to be inspired and frankly a little jealous with such talent on display.

We wish him the best with his endeavours, so if you are in the area check it out and if not, well we have the internet for that hey.

here follows the press release:

'OPENING NIGHT' : Friday 17th May - 6pm - till late
'LIVE SCREENPRINTING' : Saturday 18th - Sunday 19th May - 3pm - 7pm
'EXHIBITION ENDS' : Friday 28th June - 7pm

'Stephen Chan and Friends Presents' is the first exhibition developed and curated by illustrator and graphic designer 'Stephen Chan' & 'Odd One Out' Gallery. He has drawn together 30+ creatives around the theme of Anaglyph / Red and Blue, exploring illusions and 3D effects along with a visual narrative of 'Opposition and Harmony'. Stephen Chan and Friends brings: Animation, Surrealism and Papercraft to the table all in the vibrant setting of - Hong Kong - at the serene cafe / gallery 'Odd One Out'


Participating artists include:

Bubble Friends, Cloud Commission, Mr the Beef, Mister Millerchip, Tim Cockburn, FiST, Will Scobie, Sam Peet, Patrick Schmidt, Dominic Le-Hair, Peskimo, Natsuki Otani, Tougui, Zutto, Yema Yema, ph7labs, Jessica Fortner, Sokkuan, Kuanth, Martojaks, Dan Matutina, Kristopher Ho, Stephen Chan...more TBA

Clarissa Gonzalez, Sparkle VFX, Draw and Code, Rethunk Animation, Broken Antler, Stephen Chan...

Papertoy sculpture template:
Tougui, Stephen Chan...

28 Apr 2013

First Look Book Review: Vader's Little Princess

Here at IR towers it has been a hectic week but we have something of a real treat right now for you with a first look and review of the wonderful Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown.The delectable people at Abrams and Chronicle sent us over a copy to show you guys as I'm sure everyone here knows and appreciates Jeffrey's work.

So lets get to it then, Vader's Little Princess is "the irresistibly funny follow up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son" so reads the press release, but hey if my job was to re-hash press releases I'd work in games...

This book is the sequel to one of the most elegantly executed viral breakouts that illustration has seen in the last few years. The extremely talented Jeffrey Brown has redefined what success for an illustrator looks like,  we can all take note, talent sells and you just have to be out there and keep on it. Cracking the mainstream gives you the freedom to do what he wants, which in anyone's book is a good thing. His charming work for Vader and Son was picked up the world over for both it's gentle truthful humour and brilliant subversion of one of the most recognisable pop culture villains of our generation, so in reviewing the sequel I'm mindful of the fact he has really tried to build on the formula with Vader's Little Princess and not just release a cash cow.

The book itself is lovely, crafted with care and slickly presented, Jeffrey Brown's illustration is top end. His work is both charmingly concise allowing the humour and humanity of his characters to shine through but also detailed in a Raymond Briggs sort of way that gives the viewer a real visual feast and classic children's book feel. He really is great at capturing character and expression which is a rare skill to master with simple line work and pared down characters. It's a really clever thing to get so much emotion into Vader, considering the full face helmet, this is the real key to the appeal of the series.

I feel like there is more character development here than the films as we have a beautiful selection of classic first world problems that is painfully familiar. This ease of understanding and universality strikes a chord with the arcade kids now grown up, his style, the icing on the cake.

Deliciously funny and bang on my demographic, what's not to love.

Vader's Little Princess is by Jeffrey Brown
Published by Chronicle Books
Available 4th May (National Star Wars Day!)

21 Apr 2013

Artist 150: Kiyasu Oka

Hello all, we have to give a warm and fuzzy welcome now to our next beloved illustrator. Kiyasu Oka hails from Taiwan where she plies her trade as a "global colour magician". She is a lovely illustrator who uses bold vibrant colour in her work. She is as confident as they come, with a never say die attitude and a real talent for expressing herself. She works in a range of media and can turn her hand to many things from hard coding to personalised envelopes. Her use of colour is what sets her apart from other illustrators as she uses it with liberty creating a kaleidoscope of very bold colours that give her work a certain urgency that cuts across the cute characters.
 Kiyasu is exceptionally hard working and tries incredibly hard in everything she does. We should all extend a warm welcome to her and as she develops watch out as she will make it for sure.

Who are you:
I am Kiyasu Oka — a global color magician living in Taiwan!
What this means is that I am a professional illustorator and designer, but my official career title is "color magician" instead! (Whoa, huh?)

And, I'm... global. (Whoa!)
(And I live in Taiwan. Yeah!! XD)
Anyway, I am Taiwanese, and my birthday is on September 10th! My works can be found on my site, Kiyasu Green. I am also the person who created that famous Totoro print! (Etsy version is here!)

It is an absolute pleasure to be interviewed and featured here! I am incredibly honored!!

What do you do:
I mostly do illustration and design! (More info can be found here!) As you can see, I am available for all sorts of things! Among all of them, "personal commissions" (e.g., fan art of your favorite character, gift for your friend or other loved ones, custom personal art) has been a HUGE hit lately!
Usually people get me to do custom artwork as a gift to their loved ones, friends, etc... For example, custom birthday artwork for friends, gift art for a person's wife to hang in the living room, a custom holiday picture for someone's girlfriend to enclose with a holiday card, and a whole lot of other things!
People get me to do these kinds of things because I believe that a custom hand-drawn picture of meaningful things can be the most touching giftyou can EVER receive for many years to come—or even your whole life!
I believe that getting a custom gift picture of your favorite things of all-time, of things that speak to you deeply, of things that no one else has EVER given you, etc... is like your dreams coming true.
Especially when mixed with special colors that set your heart dazzling in ways no one else can ever do.
It's like your heart filled with hope, your days sprinkled with shooting stars every night, and your soul becoming brighter.
And gifts are a huge part of what I do. It's the heart and soul of what I do.
It's what Color Magician Kiyasu Oka will enhance and illuminate for you.

I also write website code from scratch in Notepad. I usually do coding for portfolios, art sites, personal sites, etc, but can sometimes delve into other kinds of sites.
I have a "YOU design, and I code for you!" service too for designers and illustrators who know how they want their site to look, but needs someone to code it for them!

Interested? You can get in touch with me via my services page or contact page.
How did you start:

Like many, I've started drawing since elementary school. My works weren't good back then, though.

However, I began drawing much more since later years in my life, and have then somehow managed to develop the talents and skills I have today. (Yeah, I am self-taught!)
I've always felt for a thing about receiving custom gift artwork of my favorite things, and always felt there was something very special about them. These experiences didn't happen often at all though. In fact, it was very rare that I would ever get a gift picture of things that speak to me. “No one else ever did this or drew this for me,” “I wish I can get more gift art,” etc... so many things came from me in disappointment.
The very few custom gift art I've ever received STILL puts a sparkle to me even till today, and, apparently, very few things ever had this effect on me.
And I miss receiving gift art of my favorite characters and things. And I miss giving gift art and hearing from the recipient that my work brightened their day so muchAnd that they are grateful for me.
miss all this....
In later years, it just so happens that I ended up developing some kind of a uniqueness in giving gifts in ways no one else has ever did. And I notice that I seem to be the happiest and most driven when I create a picture and know that the recipient will LOVE the gift so much.
And then somehow, I started getting commissions from private individuals to do gift art for their loved ones (usually as a surprise to their recipient), and then my career as a illustrator of custom, meaningful gift art begins....
To know that people LOVE what I do for them, and that they are glad they chose me, AND that their recipient also incredibly LOVES their gift so muchas if I've just done the most meaningful life masterpiece in their life—really makes me delighted to be doing what I do!
And for this, I am really grateful. ^^
I also want to be video game character designer and a children's books illustrator, and achieve some amazing things.... I've also always wished to be involved in children's animated films, and have some dreams I want to fulfill. So, this is another reason I want to do what I do.
As for coding, I've been coding personal sites when Yahoo! Geocities was the thing! I'm quite passionate about having a site, making it look good, having clean coding... and making my sites exceptionally original and different! I would spend hours doing it, figuring things out, and experimenting with things.
I loved it.

Throughout the years, I've developed my coding and have went to fix and tweak other people's coding as well! I realized I have a thing with spiffing up people's sites, spotting weird errors, and other things as well, so I do those too. I would be the one who could figure things out, who would know how to fix things, etc, and I always knew that people needed me.

Throughout the years, people asked me for help for their website, and this is how I began.

And yes, I am also self-taught for coding and web design! :)

A personal statement about you or your work:
I've always wanted to be a game character designer and children's books illustrator... and be involved in children's animated films! I have dreams and ambitions to fulfill, and a heart-touching difference to make. And I want to make friends along the way, have lots of fun, and touch the world in ways no one else can ever do. I want to let my soul shine even more than ever. I want to be the exception, the special one, and the miracle. This is why I do what I do. This is why I'm here.

Etsy profile
Etsy shop

15 Apr 2013

Artist 149: Artur Borejszo / Aleksandar Hrib

We have a real treat in store for you guys today with some exceptional sculptural illustrations from multi-talented duo Artur Borejso and Aleksandar Hrib who's work brings in a variety of influences and techniques to create something incredibly unique, a blend of 3d and 2d with sharply perfect polys butting up against linework and character design. Their collaboration is called  (IN OTHER WOR(L)DS) and the first thing that is so striking about the duo's work is the unparalleled sense of scale that comes with the territory of 3d design and expert architectural knowledge. This is one of the strongest features of their work as it breaks down horizons and unwraps the possibilitys of digital and graphic design.

There is something epic about their work. It breaks skies and bends worlds in a way that only 3d can but the 2d is not forgotten or detracting it is the subject, the canvas is a unique world the subject unreal characters and expressions. This may be a product of duo but it feels every bit like a single moulded unit. These two are not dabbling they mean business and exude talent. Someone will snap them up and we wish them the very best in the future.

Who are you:
Artur Borejszo / Aleksandar Hrib

What do you do / How did you start:
Artur Borejszo obtained his architecture and architectural engineering degree from the Technical University of Lodz, Poland with distinction. In addition to that, he developed special 3D CAD computer skills through completing courses and seminars at expert training centers.

Aleksandar obtained his master of architecture at the Belgrade University in 2010. Aleksandar’s skills and interests range from architecture to film and photography.

A Personal statement about you or your work:
We are combining 2D and 3D work. We are blurring boundary between architecture and graphic design, painting and sketching, computer and hand drawing. The result is a unique technique combination of sketch elements like trees, plants, characters inside 3D that is used as a tool for creating surreal scenes of dreams and poetry. Since the introduction of 3D software everyone has been producing images through computers massively. After an era of digital excitement the hunger for craftsmanship was bigger than ever.

In this image we do not exclude neither techniques, but merge both.

Artur Borejszo

11 Apr 2013

Artist 148: Masha Manapov

Next illustrator up, and we have now the super talented and brilliantly alliterative Masha Manapov. based in sunny Tel Aviv Masha's work has an instant likeability that stems from it's excellent construction. Masha has a great eye for composition and a focused approach that creates a well rounded and visually satisfying image. She puts just enough to tell the story without being sparse and at the same time her work is rich but never over complicated or contrived. Her work both exudes clarity of vision and marries together found elements without resorting to the standard vintage kitsch that is so prevalent. Her work is like a breath of cool air, refreshingly different but with a chilling edge that becomes more apparent as you stay longer as the viewer. Very technically accomplished and one that will surely find her place with her distinct yet saleable style. So with the best of wishes for all she does, and no more faff from me it's Masha Manapov.

Who are you:
I am Masha Manapov. Designer and illustrator currently based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What do you do:
Graduated from the Bazalel Academy of Art and Design with a major in illustration (BA 2009) my work focuses mainly on editorial illustration for the press. Recently I finished working on my first children's book that will be published soon. I also participated in a group exhibition and in a collaborative project that produced an illustrated booklet.

In the near future I would like to focus on self initiated projects with social and environmental character.

How did you start:
As many others, I started drawing at a very young age but as a very pragmatic person, I've never considered to make a profession of it. When I had the urge to express myself I translated it into words, photography and artistic paintings. Only at my senior year at university, I started to use illustration as a tool and to see everything in pictures. After graduation and a one year cooling period I made a portfolio and started working.

A Personal statement about you or your work:
I believe that the visual always needs to be more than just a decoration, therefore for me an idea is always a starting point. I work in a collage technique because I love to "glue" different objects and ideas together; there is always a great discovery. I use dreamy and surreal elements to talk about daily and relevant issues and try not to take myself too seriously.


21 Mar 2013

Artists 147: Anoik

A massive welcome to our next illustrator Rui Torres otherwise known as Anoik, who hails from Portugal our brand new base of operations, he has talent to burn and seriously needs everyone's attention right now. His work bursts out at you with that divine fusion of colour and line work that gives the viewer a sweet treat and a slap in the face wrapped into one slick package. Anoik has a versatile style that can turn to any project with a grim determination and a light touch, his work has a real clarity despite the often complex lines he never mixes his message and always delivers a live wire experience that not only draws you in but gets you pumped up. Its like a fusion of graffiti and graphics that stands up and asks to be counted. It's great to see someone turn their significant skill to such good use, so I for one think that everything needs the volume turned up and Anoik is the culture amp that will kick your asses and burn your beards.

Who are you:
My name is Rui and I'm also Anoik, I'm a portuguese illustrator and I'm into doom/drone/stoner music, blond busty girls and I love to work in illustration as different character, witch results in a "healthy-state-of-Schizophrenia". Add me on facebook and get to know all my "other"

What do you do:
I'M A ILLUSTRATOR - So good to write this and imagine that I'm yelling it at Portuguese Prime Minister's face.

How did you start:
I started on illustration right about the age of 20, after I've met my Illustration teacher in college. By that time I realized that with illustration I could communicate without being literal, or add more layers of meaning to my speech. Before that I was a kid with some little drawing skill.

A Personal statement about you or your work:
Nice-looking-built-for-speed-brunette-girls, hentai and hot busty blonds (Milf level) make my day, but when the previous don't show up, illustration is enough.