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Showing posts from 2015

comet girl

I am revisiting some of my old oil paintings and turning them into digital images. I never finished this one in its original state but had done most of the figure. I am now using it as a reference for this new work.
It is an adaptation of a dream I had fairly recently, so it is 'autobiographical' (although I have taken a fair bit of artistic licence).
Digital painting suits me so much better than traditional media. It is still time consuming but less frustrating because I can change things more easily if they don't work. Also, because I construct an image in layers, I can move things around for better composition, like the comets for example - or create an entirely new background for the figure. 
I think I was born too early because this technology wasn't around for most of my life. I didn't touch a computer until I was 41. Better late than never I guess - at least I have had the opportunity to learn to paint with digital media.

apropos 'of nothing'

This is my contribution to the group exhibition of nothing currently showing at 'Kent River Studio' from the 26 September to 11 October. 
Hand drawn linework digitally coloured and printed on 310 gm archival paper (the grid was created in Photoshop).

getting happier

I've decided I like this better without the outlines in the background. I love the ease with which you can apply tones in Manga Studio and I am having fun learning how to use them.
There is a precedent for this style of course (isn't there always?). I was watching Pokemon today (not much on TV at that time of the morning while I'm having a cuppa) and noticed this is how they do it. The characters have outlines and the backgrounds don't. Although my style of drawing is quite different and limited to black and white, for this one at least.
I'm finding it quite addictive.

skater boy WIP

Had a bit of difficulty deciding on a strategy for the background. I did a ballpoint pen drawing and imported to Photoshop to create a psd file. Then I tried vectorising in Illustrator and even inking with the pen tool. I am not a huge fan of the perfect inked line the pen tool tends to create when you are inexperienced with it (as I am). Finally settled on this - isolated the line and now colouring in Manga Studio on a layer underneath.
I am enjoying the brush because it is giving me a mottled texture rather than super smooth saturated colour. Maybe not as good as the stock background provided by Manga Studio but more in keeping with the figure. I like the layout of the background better too as it gives it more depth. Works for me anyway.

me & manga studio 5

I thought I had it already but couldn't find it in applications (I bought Anime Studio Pro by mistake). So I invested yet another $80 in software to get Manga Studio 5. This was going to be my summer holiday project but I got a bit excited and jumped the gun.
I've posted this drawing here before but I made some changes in Manga Studio today - more shading and applying a texture to the board. Easy as - just select the area with the Magic Wand and drag the texture in. Which is cool if you want to apply the 'halftone' dots you see in comics. The background is an MS freebie. I am planning to do an original eventually. And I haven't finished the soles of the shoes - you can see the clouds through them.
You can import as a psd (with all layers preserved) - which supports my method of hand drawing and Live Tracing in Illustrator to colour in another program. The pencil is much better than PS and the brushes are really nice to use. You can rotate your work easily but I ha…

skater boy update

Experimenting with my shading. I bit hesitant at the moment but I reckon I will get better. I've been trying to teach myself this style of drawing for a while - it's quite different to my usual 'chiaroscuro' with the 3D emphasis on shading.
I will be working on the background for this next. Always so much to learn. Brilliant.

skater boy

I've discovered a great way to get hand drawn images inked in Illustrator and coloured in Photoshop.
This is a work in progress.

final walkabout map

icon fun

Hand drawn icons for a map project. Such fun.

(un)motivational poster

This is what I have been working on lately - an un-motivational poster with the theme: 'Against Milk'. I went for the jugular! Unsurprisingly it has proved a bit controversial in the net-sphere. Which of course was the intention - I'm not one to be subtle.
I still have to finish drawing the udder.

another sphere

2013 to 2015

Every so often I put my name in Google's search engine to see what images come up. The first screen grab is 2013. The second is 2015. The emphasis has definitely changed.


vale Joan Campbell

In the early hours of this morning my Wise Old Rosicrucian Friend, artist and spiritual mentor Joan May Cambell died. I am so sad - not for her, for myself - Joan was 85 and lived a rich and fruitful life. She became ill a few months ago and her passing was testament to the way she lived that life. Like her husband and fellow Rosicrucian Allan Campbell, she left without a fuss, as nature intended – the body had had enough and she went quietly. I spoke to her recently about how she had worn out her old body and needed a new one:
I’m sure I will be back - there is much work to do and this is where the work is.
I know I’ll see you again Joan - I will keep an eye out.
Yes, we recognised each other this time around didn’t we?
Yes, we did.
I saw Joan in the hospice 3 days before she died. She was drugged up and a bit vague, but still very keen to join in the conversation – about art of course. When I left I knew it was the last time I would see her – in this life anyway. I had a hell of a nigh…

halftones & watercolour

Watercolour effects using filters, layers and blending modes (thanks Chris Spooner) Quick halftone pop portrait.

more rough stuff in AI

rough pop portraits

growing old disgracefully

Still flat out. Juggling on-line study, lecturing duties and fitting in a surf at every opportunity. Who'd have thought this time, after 8 years of relentless effort to finish my PhD, would end up being yet another intense learning period. I have been catapulted into a world of saturated colour, typography, digital software and a whole new way of looking at the world. For someone of my vintage this has to be a good thing, right - if learning fends off altzheimer's then things are looking good for me in my dotage. I don't expect any sympathy - it's clearly my own fault - my decision. But I have to defend myself - I am now of an age considered by many to be 'too old', 'dispensible' and probably even 'surplus to requirements' in a clamouring workforce. But dammit, my motto is: 'evolve or die' and I'm not  ready to give up just yet. It's a matter of necessity as much as anything - the retirement age is a goal post that keeps getting …

1980s text

I'm not very good at following instructions. But there are some great free tutorials on the net so I forced myself. 
This is my interpretation of a special type effects tute by Digital Tutors. I had to create the word as a vector for the first layer because I couldn't download the file from the site (maybe because I needed to be a paying customer!)
It didn't turn out quite like the one in the demo, but I am pretty happy with it. Using the airbrush for splatters and a couple of highlights was instructive too.

a 'drop in the ocean'

The surf has been crap for weeks - either a ridiculous holiday crowd on the rare shifty wave inside the point or blowing it's guts out onshore slop further around the bay where I like to get away from everyone. But I've decided to make the most of my daily pilgimage to the beach by doing a 200 metre walk to the inlet and back to get some exercise and pick up rubbish. 
I started out furtively a few months ago - feeling like the local pariah, after all, it's only the dregs of society that handle other people's shit no matter how many brownies (of beer) you give your nice garbo for Christmas. But then I decided to make myself very visible, because I wanted people to see that someone cared enough to do something about the degradation. This issue has reached epidemic proportions - recently images of plankton that have ingested plastic have been posted on Facebook.
I can't be angry at those who walk past me empty-handed and stare blankly - after all, that is what I have…

respect and the ‘right’ to speak

Lately events in my small universe and the world at large have prompted me to question the value of our much lauded democratic right to ‘say what we fucking like’. Years ago I would have defended that right to the death. Now I wouldn’t. Simply because, as a child of a democracy, I must defend everyone’s rights equally, and not every opinion is equal in its worth.
Facebook has been the catalyst. In its anonymity and remoteness from real world consequence it is a mecca for the opinionated and disrespectful. As a result I have recently withdrawn from several conversations, pages and a group.
The first incident was brought about by a comment I made regarding the acknowledgement of an artist’s work on a UK digital magazine’s FB page. I guess I could have been a bit less confrontational, but this magazine purported to be a ‘professional’ organisation and, as an artist, intellectual property infringements make my blood boil. The conversation went as follows: ‪
Michelle Frantom: I think your mag…


'Me and the Shark', watercolour and pencil on paper
As I counted heads at my overcrowded local surf break - bemoaning the holiday season - I said to myself: 'all it would take is one shark'. Of course I only meant a sighting at my own beach, not the fatal attack 100+ kms east. Nevertheless it seems to have done the trick - the day after there were many less holiday-makers in the water. Only the statisticians, deluded or fatalistic persisted (including myself). Even the day after numbers were well down and I enjoyed the best offshore surf for weeks. However, my joy was a little dampened by my own mean-spiritedness and I felt a bit guilty - but I am not God and I didn't create that tragic event.
The drop in numbers again yesterday might have had something to do with a reported sighting of a big Great White 80 kms west (at another coastal holiday spot). Apparently there were 3 sighted - but I suspect a bit of narrative hyperbole is creeping in here. When I was living…