Posts Tagged Art

Journal Pages Galore

One of my favorite things is creating a full and cohesive piece in my journals. While I do also make thumbnail sketches and work out ideas in my journal as well. All of the following pieces are from my personal journal, the Metronome Lever Journal.

Deep Diver

Deep Diver

So this is the first of some of my journal pages that I want to share with you. This is one I’m particularly proud of. I knocked this one out at a journaling night at the Artfest Annex. The way the light from his helmet bleeds out into the surrounding water is my favorite part. All of the pages that I’m sharing with you are colored with Peerless Watercolor Papers and a water pen. I think the pen that I was using at the time was a Pitt brand, size Medium.

The Protective Tenticles

The Protective

TentaclesThe Protective Tentacles was a piece that I did in response to Deep Diver. Again, I’m fairly pleased with this one. The colors and the composition turned out really cool. Again I did this one at the Annex on another journaling night.

Pax Romanis

Pax Romanis

This one is a bit of a story. I did this one while up at Soul Food Books in Redmond while listening to a public talk that Trista and I attended. While the talk was interesting it didn’t hold my complete interest. I just sort of started drawing this skull and banner. The speaker started talking about Ancient Rome and I decided to draw the map in as the background. The whole “Pax Romanis” thing was me trying to be clever and totally fouling up my Latin. What I wanted was “Pax Romana” but it had been about 11 years since I took Latin in high school and couldn’t come up with the right words. Personally I like it better misspelled. Gives it caracter.

More journal pages will be coming soon.


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The Long Winding Road

Wow… Its been 6 months since I made a post. That’s, well lets be blunt, embarrassing.

Well Gearskull Studios is back and better than ever. Still on a teaching high from Artfest (Ill get in to that later) I’ve started several exciting things that should come to fruition soon. So, like a newly repainted billboard, watch this space. Exciting things should be happening soon.

Artfest. What can I say about Artfest other than it was simply amazing. I was well received by my students and every one of the finished their projects. Not an easy feat if you are new to working with metal and leather and then turning them in to a book. I’m proud of all of them and will have some pictures their work up soon. That being said, I have a message for my students: I forgot to take pictures of all your journals. I caught some of them at the show and tell but I would like to have a record of my students work. If you could please send me an email with a picture of the journal that you made in my class that would be amazing. I think my email is listed somewhere on here but in case it isn’t its gearskull at gmail dot com. Thanks again.

In other news, Teesha and Tracy have put me in charge of First Thursday at the Artfest Annex. Its gonna be an amazing time. I’m still working everything out for Thursday next week. If your in the Seattle area, you should come by the Artfest Annex at 89 Yesler Way in Pioneer Square. Like I said, Its gonna be a fun time.

It’s been a long winding road the past 6 months, with much, much more to come.

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Housekeeping and Whatnot

Well, it seems like I haven’t posted in quite a while. To catch you all up, heres what I’ve been up to. Trista’s gone back to school to study speech and hearing sciences and eventually become (probably) a speech language pathologist. To further that aim we have moved into the U-District of Seattle while she attends the University of Washington. This is mostly why I’ve been so quiet as of late. Packing, moving, unpacking and so on. This is not to say that I’ve gone dormant in my efforts to make as many journals and as much art as possible. Ive been working, just slowly. Very. Slowly.

Theres a lot on my and Gearskull Studios horizons. Coming up at the end of this summer I’m going to be an Enforcer (volunteer) at PAX. This October is gonna be a busy one, I have a vendor table at both Journalfest and Steamcon. Then April 2012 is the big one! Like I posted before I’m going to be teaching at Artfest. Im teaching Metal Adventure Journals and The Wearable Journal. I’ll also have a vendor table there as well.

Good times and lots of work on the horizons for me and Gearskull Studios.

More to come soon…

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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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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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The Metronome Lever Journal

The Metronome Lever Journal is actually the third journal that I made. The Mica Journal was the 2nd journal I made; but I’m gonna go a little out-of-order, as I don’t know where the Mica Journal is because of my recent move to Seattle. It’s in a box somewhere. When I find it I’ll post it up. I learned how to make the Mica Journal in a class at Journalfest, taught by Dan Essig. Anyway…

The Metronome Lever Journal was made when Tracy held a class at his studio and invited Trista and I to attend. I had some ideas kicking around for a smaller journal than the Brass Tome. Clocking in at 7″ x 9″ and 9 five-page signatures thick, the Brass Tome is a bear to lug around. My idea was something smaller to carry arround and have the Brass Tome to work in at home or on special occasions. I looked to the paperback books that I love so much (for their portability). The size of a paperback is approximately 4″ x 5″. That seemed a little small to me, by and large not giving me a lot of real estate to draw, create, and write; so I increased the size to 5″ x 7″. With 6 signatures of 3 pages each, it is much more portable.

And thus the Metronome Lever Journal was born.

The Metronome Lever Journal Cover

The cover of the Metronome Lever Journal

While I was trying to come up with some ideas for the cover I kept coming back to these 2 plates and camera lens. The plates were no problem to attach, some rivets and its good to go. The camera lens presented a huge problem in mounting it to the front of the journal. One idea that I had was to sand down a small piece of plywood, drill out a hole large enough to fit the lens,  and rivet it to the copper before attaching the leather. That was what I went with as my attachment method, but all of the large-bore bits were either slightly too small or slightly too big. Rather than force it, I decided that it would be better to g too big and then glue it in with gorilla glue. I was a little wary of using glue cause if i messed it up i probably wouldn’t get a second chance and could potentially ruin the lens. but it all worked out fine and the lens looks great.

The spine of the Metronome Lever Journal

The spine of the Metronome Lever Journal

I didn’t do too much to the spine of the Metronome Lever other than the binding. The only concession to anything slightly stylish is how I dealt with melting the knot. After binding the journals signatures together, instead of using a charm, which i have found breaks my knots, I melted the knot down; and while the wax polyester was still hot I mashed the knot down on to the pine plank that I’ve been using as a drilling surface. This gives me what i call a smash knot. It makes a small flat disk and keeps everything bound nicely.

The back of the Metronome Lever Journal

The back of the Metronome Lever Journal

Like the back of the Brass Tome, I opted for the use of 2 running stitches with 2 colors of thread. I also then added on the other metronome plate on the back. I was really lucky that I found the cool scars for the back of the journal.

For this one I decided that a 6 signature book didn’t need a closure and I think that its given the book a really clean look. The copper was originally polished to a mirrored finish, and I really like how it’s tarnished up as I’ve handled it.

Well that’s the Metronome Leather Journal. Thanks for taking a look at it.

Next up is the Leather X’s Journal.

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