That's right! Monkey-Fighting snakes on a Monday - Friday blog!
When I have a concept for illustration I grab the closest piece of paper I have and I scribble random lines on it. I know that my memory is not as awesome as it should be. I'm only 27 but I forget some of my best ideas if I don't make a note. I think when I'm old I'll be one of those funny red-hat ladies with yarn bows tied on all my fingers. The digital age and Google Calendar has made life much, much better. Regardless, I like things tangible and scraps of paper are my preferred medium for note taking or scribble drawings and sketchy thinking.
These snakes first happened at Joya's on Court Street.
Nothing says snakes like a writhing bowl of mundo-delicious flat noodles. I love Joya's because the food is delicious and the service is bad. They have paper on all the tables and if you're a sketchy Brooklynite who always has a pencil tucked behind her ear this is a great place for inspiration while you wait forever and ever for your yummy food -- hence the snakes.
First snakes were sketched in itty bitty scale - around 2x4".
I liked them enough to give them some time and I hit them with red pencils on 10x10" paper.
These are done with my preferred Col-Erase red pencils in cadmium red.
I recommend buying them and trying them out - well that is if you're not in the Brooklyn or Manhattan Burroughs. Finding them here is getting harder and harder. If you must buy them in New York please just stay away from Chelsea's Utrecht and Lee's Art Shop across from Carnegie Hall - those are my haunts and I have dibs.
I always think better when I see my art in red line. I realized these snakes were almost cool but that their faces weren't entrancing. Snakes need entrancing faces. I played with them in pencil once I loved their mugs I attacked them with pastel, watercolor, gauche and digital ink.
When I got to this "finished" stage I was so disappointed with these guys. I thought they were going to be awesome when they were in that very first thumbnail stage. Now they seemed to be missing some face-punch snakiness. I uploaded dirt and grass variations and called my brother. Ashton starts every conversation we have about my work with "OK, but what's my percentage?" ;)
One of the best lessons I learned in college was from a professor who said "If you want to know how your art is going to be received ask anyone you trust. They don't have to have any artistic inkling to know what's wrong or what they think. After all, they're your audience." We looked at them online and I talked about the pros and cons of dirt vs. grass. I was weary of grass because The snakes were already green and I didn't want to lose them. At this point Ashton really wasn't earning his keep. Then he was like "Nah they look great, keep them on Grass. Just do something to make them different than the grass, like you know something artsy you can do." 2 points.
I suggested we add more rocks. He said "yeah, rocks can be good, just make them artsy." So I started scribbling in pastel while we kept chatting. "Kid, you've got to give me something better if you're going to earn that ten percent, yo."
"What if you gave them scales?"
This is where working with younger brothers becomes exasperating "Butch, they already have scales!"
I pictured him shrugging when he said undaunted in his Hawaiian boy attitude "Dude, give them more scales." I hung up exasperated, grabbed a glass of water and came back to the drawing board when I realized,
gee that kid is genius. Meet the snakes, in all their "more scales" glory.
listening to right this second: "right round" -- flo rida