I’m Teaching at Artfest!

So I got the word the other day from Teesha that I’ve been selected as one of the teachers for Artfest 2012! Exciting, I know right. I’m really honored to be given this opportunity to share what I know. I’m going to be teaching two classes. One on Thursday and one on Saturday.
Thursday’s class is “Metal Adventure Journals”. The class will focus on the essential skills needed to make metal and leather journals. We will make 3″x5″ journals using the afore mentioned metal and leather, as well as found objects as design elements.
Saturday’s class is “The Wearable Journal” in which we will use the skills at making journals to make small wearable journals; either as a necklace or as a bracelet. I’ll have some sample pictures up soon.
Like I said I’m super excited to teach these classes. I’ll have more info as soon as its available.


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The Gearskull Studios Store…

…It is open!

And it has stuff in it!

Go there now!

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Emerald City Comicon 2011

So this past weekend I went to the Washington State Convention Center to attend Emerald City Comicon.

To sum the entire experience up, it was AMAZING.

I got to meet Wil Wheaton again and have him sign my Brass Tome Journal. I had a little bit of a squee moment when he remembered me from when he signed the Metronome Lever Journal at PAX last year.  That was awesome with a side of so much epicness. He drew a picture of a dragon. I also bought Sunken Treasure and The Day After and Other Stories from him, which he graciously signed as well.

Wheaton's Dragon

Wil Wheaton's Dragon; Now dubbed "The Wheaton Dragon"

I picked up an awesome Baffler from Chris Yates. Its name is Dragon Breath Fountain. Its simply beautiful. I got it for Trista as a surprise, because a) she let me go to the con and b) loves loves loves her puzzles. She was very happy when I gave it to her; and she proceeded to dump it out and solve it in about 5 min. She still loves it and agrees with me that its gorgeous.

Dragon Breath Fountain

The Dragon Breath Fountain Baffler by Chris Yates

I also picked up a book from Joel Watson at Hijinks Ensue, God Speed You Fancy Bastard, a book from Angela Melick at Wasted Talent, We Are The Engineers, and the Boilerplate Unpublished Graphic Novel by Paul Guinan. In addition I bought a beautiful Cthulhu tea cup by Erin Middendorf.

Cthulhu Tea Cup

Cthulhu Tea Cup by Erin Middendorf

I also got to meet a lot of people who loved the Brass Tome. I happened to be carrying it around with me for most of the con because I needed space in my backpack for all of the awesome stuff that I bought. After that I have a renewed vigor to get the Gearskull Studios Etsy store up and running. Which is seriously the next thing that I am doing. I was awed and humbled by everyone’s compliments. I just like making the journals but knowing that other people dig my work was just the best thing ever.

I also got a lot of sketches in my journals from some artists that I really admire.

Scott Kurtz of PvP drew Skull the Troll for me looking totally bad-ass and maybe a little sketchy (get it sketchy… ha..yeah that was lame…..)

Skull the Troll

Skull the Troll by Scott Kurtz

David Malki of Wondermark drew an amazing Rhinoceros Gentleman making a rather discomfiting statement. Which is awesome.

The Gentleman Rhinoceros

The Gentleman Rhinoceros by David Malki

Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak drew me a Mecha Lincoln. It reminded me of one of my favorite short stories “American Cheetah” by Robert Reed and made me really happy when he came up with it.

Mecha Lincoln

Mecha Lincoln by Aaron Diaz

And finally last, but certainly not least, Jeph Jacques from Questionable Content drew me a really nice sketch of Marigold. Ive been a fan of QC for many years and getting to meet Jeph was really really cool.


Marigold by Jeph Jacques

So yeah Emerald City Comicon was a huge success for me and I had a great time. It was just a blast. I got to meet so many cool and interesting people that I’ll definitely be going back next year.

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Whats been going on with Gearskull Studios

So just a quick mention of the fact that I haven’t posted anything on here in about 5 months. I’ve a) been busy and b) I’ve not had much to say. I don’t know what else to say about it but that. I’ve been in the studio working and expanding my artistic range in to (or rather back in to) other mediums (not to mention working my day job). I don’t want to say that I promise to post more and blah blah blah. That kind of thing has always bugged me on other blogs because it usually signals the death knell for said blog. I’m determined to post more (around once a week) but I don’t want to be bound to an update schedule. So that’s that.

Like I said, I’ve been working. These are some of the things that Ive been working on.

I’ve been expanding in to making some large-ish watercolor pieces based on some of my journal pages that I’ve done in the Metronome Leather Journal. Last month was Play (and there will be a post about that very soon) and I learned/rediscovered a technique, taught by Brian Kasstle, that creates a really awesome surface to paint on. So I’ve been experimenting with that. Ive also been studying some new bindings that I will be trying out on some new journals very soon. Other exciting news is that my Etsy store will be up soon and I’m super excited to show you all what I have available. So, all in all, things are looking awesome here at Gearskull Studios.

More to come in the next post. Which is soon.

Really. It will be soon. I swear.

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Some Journal Pages

So for a while now, I’ve been thinking about posting some of my journaling artwork up here on the blog to showcase what I do with my journals (I’m currently working in both the Metronome Lever and the Brass Tome). I think that I’m just going to put up the  images and then share some thoughts on them.

Journal Page Pipes

Pipes Lighting Study and A Doodle of Some Gears and Tesla Coils

This is a lighting study that I did a while ago to try and figure out if i could create realistic lighting effects with some Pitt brush pens that I had just gotten. It took me a little while to figure out what colors to use and get the perspective down. Over all I’m very pleased with the results. I think that it turned out really cool and I’m proud of it. The doodle was just a doodle that I did one day while sitting around on a day off that I had. I was thinking about some steampunky stuff and trying to come up with an opening few lines for a story that I never ended up writing. In that I was just messing with some stuff and I think that the lightning from the Tesla coils turned out neat. The writing I think is kinda lame, but that may just be me being overly critical of myself.

3 Drawings of different environments

3 Environment Studies done from Prompts from Trista

Starting after Trista and I started dating we decided that while we should both be creating more, she with her writing and I with my drawing, and that we would give each other prompts when we thought of something or demanded a prompt from the other. The prompts that we would give each other were usually one word ideas, or occasionally a sentence to get us moving on an idea. We both thought that this would help us grow as artists and expand into areas that we normally wouldn’t go on our own. One of the first prompts that Trista hit me with was “mist”. She sent it to me in a text and I believe my response was “how the hell am I going to draw mist?” She just responded that I should just do it and quit my whining. I sat and agonized over this exercise because I really wanted to a) figure this out and b) impress Trista a little as we hadn’t been dating all that long at this point. I finally came to some conclusion that the mist would have to be an absence or negative space within the drawing and that I was focusing on the wrong thing. The real issue was what goes on around the mist. I tried for something simple with some deciduous trees in winter. I decided to go with the naked trees because quite frankly Ive never been able to get leaves and how they should look on trees down correctly. I keep trying but I wanted this to be perfect, as it was one of the first prompts. Trista loved it, and I think that it worked out OK. Trista has continued to give me environment study prompts. I really enjoyed making these as it does push me in a new and different direction. The river study is based on a river (I cant remember which, maybe the Red River, maybe the Columbus, I’m not sure) that Trista and I saw while we were on our cross-country road trip this past March. The Cave study is based on a composite of multiple photographs that I took while in Mammoth Caves National Park in Kentucky. I have other studies that I haven’t photographed yet, these just happened to all be on the same page. I’m sure that I’ll put them up at some point. The prompt idea has been a huge success in getting Trista and I to create more and I can’t recommend it highly enough to any couple in which one or both of the people are creative. Its just a phenomenal tool to keep both people working and moving in a way that they would not normally head.

The Calavera Butterfly

Calavera La Maraposa

This was another prompt from Trista. I think that she was feeling whimsical, and felt like messing with me a little bit, and hit me with the prompt of “butterfly”. I think she could almost hear the disbelief and slight derrision and my response of “really? butterfly? you want me to draw a fracking butterfly?” To which she just simply replied “yeah, i want you to draw me a butterfly. Will you draw it for me?” The last bit was said in the sweetest and nicest way that there was no way that I could refuse. Me being me however I wasn’t about to just draw some nice sweet butterfly. I also didn’t want to disapoint her so I tried to come up with something that she would think was cool and interesting. This is what I came up with. Ive always thought that the Mexican Calavera was a really cool and interesting character, and that it would be a neat idea that to marry that with a pair of butterfly wings. I think that it came out pretty cool and that it works as an over all drawing study. Ive been thinking that I may do some refining and incorporate it in to a future project that I’ve been thinking about (no spoilers, i promise). Also the name is totally bullshit Spanish. I looked up the word for butterfly on the internet and just thew a “la” in there for good measure. I don’t speak Spanish and don’t claim to. Its just made up. If its wrong i apologize to all of the Spanish speaking world, I don’t know anyone who speaks Spanish that I could have asked.

The Sun! It Burns Us!

Arrgh! The Sun! It Burns Us!

This one wasnt a prompt but it was a study in trying to get a water pen and Peerless Watercolors to work the way I want them to work. This came out a little funky, but I still think it came out pretty cool. I did this one at the height of summer out here in Washington (state, not DC) and it was just hot and horrible every day (which now that its fall and raining a lot i really shouldn’t be complaining about, anyway…).

I think that Ive rambled on enough about my own artwork. I would really appreciate any constructive criticizim that you guys have for me. I would appreciate compliments more but that may be asking too much (/smirk). Any-who… I know that I’ve been really really lax on updating the site and sincerely apologize for that. Ive been working really hard on lots and lots of journals in my big ramp up for Journalfest next month so that I will have lots of journals to sell and not have a half empty table. This also means that I have an enormous back log of journals to showcase here on the blogy blog. But I will try and maintain some kind of update schedule. More than likely once a week, on a Tuesday or Thursday. I hope to up that to twice a week after the Journalfest ramp up and I’m more in a leisurely pace (don’t read that as lazy, just toned down from my current frenetic pace). Im thinking that the twice a week schedule will be a journal feature on Tuesday and a journal page showcase on Thursday. I doubt that the journal page showcase will be as extensive as this one has. More likely it will be a two maybe three page showcase. I think that about does it.

Next up is (and I swear that it is this time, for cereal guys) The Tri-Gear journal.

Thanks guys.

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PAX and the awesomeness that was meeting Wil Wheaton

So, I just met Wil Wheaton and he loved my journal so much that he threw out a tweet of me holding it. Then he saw some of my drawings and liked one of them so much he sent out a tweet of that. This has been the awesomest day ever.

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The Leather X’s Journal

The next journal that I made is the Leather X’s Journal. With this one I wanted to explore fully covering the metal of the back and front cover using multiple types of leather (both in color and texture) and using the thread that binds the leather as a design element. I also made this one a smaller size, about 3″ X 5″. I found working with the smaller size a challenge. While I was working on it I had half of a quote to a book that I can’t really remember running through my head; basically the quote said that if you could create something in miniature then you would work out all of the issues in creating at a normal size. This has been sticking in my head for the last few journals, but I’ll post about them later.

The cover of the Leather X's Journal

The cover of the Leather X's Journal

For the cover of the Leather X’s Journal I decided to use a dark brown leather for the base of the cover, spine and back. For the other pieces of leather I tried to grab some contrasting colors. To gain a sense of depth I placed the light tan leather under the midtone brown. With the shapes I tried to create a dynamic, flowing edge to them drawing your eye all over the journal but always bringing it back to the center.  In attaching the base leather I went with making a lot of smaller x’s to give myself a larger space to work with for the design of the cover. While the base leather is attached with evenly spaced x’s, the mid- and foreground leather are attached with slightly irregular x’s. Additionally I used alternating colors of thread to add some more contrast to the cover as a whole. I chose the bright silver closure because as a whole the cover seemed too dark to me, with there being only a small amount of the tan leather showing. To rivet the closure on to the cover and strap I used some brass nails. To create a base for the closure to rivet to on the strap I sewed a small clipping of copper to the underside of the strap and riveted the other side of the closure through the leather to the copper underneath. All in all I’m fairly happy with the way the cover came together from my initial design ideas.

The spine of the Leather X's Journal

The spine of the Leather X's Journal

As with the Metronome Lever Journal, I decided to keep a simple approach and just bound it and created a smash knot in the center of the top. At 10 signatures of 3 pages per signature, the Leather X’s Journal has a nice weighty feel to it without being too heavy.

The back of the Leather X's Journal

The back of the Leather X's Journal

With the back of the Leather X’s I decided that simpler was better, and mirrored the stitching on the front cover for the dark brown leather. To attach the strap of the closure I chose to do two rows of x’s and maintain the minimalist approach that I took with the back.

I’m very pleased with the way that the Leather X’s Journal came out. Both the size and the weight give it a good feel in your hands. I don’t know if it’s the way I bound it or if I simply did something different with the binding but the opening and closing of the book even has a nice feel to it. That’s it for the Leather X’s Journal.

Next up is the Tri-Gear Journal. See you then.

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