Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Antitype (Xenogears)

New painting, a piece of Xenogears fan art, if anyone out there remembers that game.

There's also a sort of sappy personal story behind this, if you'll permit me.

This is a special painting for me, because it was the one that got me back into doing traditional painting. I started working on this one about a year ago, at the end of 2008. Now, since then, I've actually managed to finish a bunch of other traditional paintings before this one, but before I started this, pretty much all of my work was purely digital. Before this piece, the last time I'd done any traditional painting was 2005.

It didn't occur to me how much I missed painting until I saw, of all things, a post on Penny Arcade showcasing some paintings that Gabe had started doing. The paintings themselves were pretty great, but he also wrote this in his post:

This latest piece is the first in a series I plan on doing based on my favorite games. I sat down and made a list yesterday of all the games I've really loved over the years and I plan on trying to do paintings based on as many of them as I can. The list has stuff like Zelda, Rez, Kingdom Hearts and Bioshock on it, plus lots more.

Strange as it seems, that's what inspired me. Just the whole idea of painting something fun. Somehow, in the previous three years, I'd been so serious when it came to making art (anyone who's been through art school maybe knows what I'm talking about) that it didn't occur to me that I was allowed to have fun.

And so I started this painting. And now a year and five other paintings later, it's finally finished.

Here's hoping I can keep it up.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 2nd Watercolors, Part 2

The remaining four paintings from last week's life drawing set. Sketched in pencil during the live poses, then finished in watercolor later at home. Originals available for purchase.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cogswell Dec 2

Last week was the last Cogswell session of 2009, and one of the better sets I've had in a while. Below are the five best sketches of the night, each one a 2-min or 5-min pose. Each of these is also available for purchase at my Etsy store.

I've also got another four as well, that only got as far as pencil drawings during the session, and I've been working on these at home. I'll post them later in the week when they're all finished.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crimson Dress Timelapse

Another timelapse film, from the latest painting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Illustration & Design

With the focus of this site shifting increasingly in the direction of the fine arts, I've been needing a new place for all of my actual production work. Well, today my professional portfolio finally has a proper home with the completion of my new portfolio site, Zachary Knoles Illustration & Design.

Over there, you'll find my professional art: illustration, backgrounds, design, storyboards, etc. Back over here will be my personal work: paintings, short films, and this blog. Maybe it seems like an arbitrary division, to split my work thusly into two sites. But there is a reason. With one site now clearly marked as "the portfolio," the other one can be used for whatever I want. I find that freedom comforting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Woman in the Crimson Red Dress

Latest painting. Was going for something like that old pulp paperback cover feel. Or something like that.

You can actually see the original thumbnail for this one way back in this post, second from the right. The pose changed along the way, that thumbnail was just for the colors. Sometimes that's all it takes, for me to want to take something to a finish.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Teal Nude Timelapse Video

I mentioned a couple weeks ago when I posted my latest painting that I'd been shooting timelapse footage of my painting process. I'm happy to say the footage did not come out terrible, and in fact looks pretty great.

You can see the finished painting here.

Total painting time was about 19 hours. The footage was shot with a Canon PowerShot A570 IS running CHDK firmware, using Ultra Intervalometer to take a picture about every five seconds. The unedited footage ran almost nine minutes, so I actually had to speed up the footage even further to bring it down to the four minutes it is now. In this final version, each second represents a little less than five minutes of painting time.

Also, my goodness, I have terrible posture.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Original Art for Sale

I have an announcement! I'm putting several of my original pieces up for sale on Etsy. Ten watercolor paintings from recent life drawing sessions are available in the store right now. Some of them are the ones I posted in the blog last week, and some of them are on view below. If you've ever wanted to own an original piece of artwork by me, now's your chance.

You can visit my store at this link:

Five of the pieces available for sale:

(click here to buy the original)

(click here to buy the original)

(click here to buy the original)

(click here to buy the original)

(click here to buy the original)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Speed Drawing

One of my favorite things about Cogswell's life drawing sessions are the short poses. At Cogswell, five minutes is considered a long pose. The warm-ups are ten-second poses. Ten seconds. I've never been at another drawing session that does it this way, but it's great. When the models know they won't have to hold a pose for very long, they all seem much more willing to give us more difficult poses. And with less time, our pencils get looser, and our drawings get better.

That's the idea, at least. It doesn't happen that way all the time, and sometimes it makes me feel utterly exhausted to draw that fast for three hours straight. But more often than not I get some real gems out of these sessions, and even when I don't, it's more fun this way.

Some of my favorites from my last two sessions:

Teal Nude

New painting, acrylic on canvas panel, 11"x14".

I'm doing a bit of a fun experiment. For the last couple paintings, I've been shooting timelapse photos of my painting sessions, with the intention of being able to show the entire process of how I make a painting. Also so that I might look back at what I did and learn from it.

This one here is the first painting where I've recorded the entire process from beginning to end (I have footage for other paintings, but they all start at some point in the middle).

So hopefully I'll be posting a timelapse video of this painting soon, provided the footage didn't come out terrible!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bye-Bye Bin Laden in the Mercury News

Our film got a nice write-up in the Mercury News last week. The full article is online at the Mercury News website.

Roll Initiative

The last several posts are the result of a new system of warm-up exercises, which I shamefully stole from my fellow artist Geoffrey Stone. It's very simple. First you start with a list. Fill it with all manner of drawing exercises. Assign each one a number, one through however many you have. Then, when it's time for your warm-up exercise, take your list, look over it very carefully, and roll the dice.

Whatever the dice say, that's your exercise. Now go do it.

I love this system. For me, the worst part of having lists like these is actually picking one. Making a decision always feels like such an investment, like there are so many choices, I'd better have a good reason for picking this one over the others. Most of the time I end up not doing any of them. But now that's not a problem. The dice make my decision for me.

My list is below, for anyone who's curious. (Extra nerdy detail: some of these also have secondary rolls from other lists, and one of them even requires me to roll again from the same list. Yes I do enjoy this a little too much.)

(roll D12)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Nightgown in Three Colors

Drawn first in ink with a brush pen, then scanned into Photoshop where I added several variations of color.

Pixel Self Portrait

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grown-up life is harder than I thought

I buy a lot of books from used bookstores, which means I take a chance on a lot of books I've never heard of. Most of the time I get burned, but every now and then I find something good.

This was how I found Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee, a novel I'd never heard of, and it turned out to be the best novel I've read all year. It's not at all the kind of thing I would normally read, but it's amazing (and, for a 560 page novel, an incredibly fast read). I wish I could easily describe what it's about, but it's an awkward sort of novel to summarize in a compact, elevator pitch description ("sprawling modern day Victorian novel featuring Korean-Americans from all walks of life and every rung of the class ladder, poised at the edge of what-do-we-do-with-our-lives and finding their way in mid-1990s Manhattan" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue).

There's an interview with the author (4 parts on YouTube) that does a much better job of describing the novel than anything I could say. So I'll only add that although the book has nothing to do with being an artist (except possibly for protagonist Casey Han's love of making hats), reading it I somehow felt as if it was describing exactly the same trials and pains and pressures that I feel as an artist.

There are probably other books that do exactly the same thing, but Free Food for Millionaires does it really damn well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Also while in Seattle...

...we saw an exhibition of particular artist at the Seattle Art Museum, and attended a certain interactive entertainment themed nerd convention.

Public Market

My wife and I went to Seattle a couple weeks ago, and I did this sketch from the window of our hotel. (I know, it's what every artist draws in Seattle, this or the Space Needle.) Below is a photo of the same view.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All-Talking, All-Dancing, All-Singing Taliban

Hey, it looks like Bye-Bye Bin Laden just got a pretty awesome review from KGO Radio's Ronn Owens and film critic Tim Sika, who calls it "the film with an all-talking, all-dancing, all-singing Taliban," which is a better tagline than we could ever come up with.

Check out the audio of the review!

Incidentally, Bye-Bye Bin Laden is out today! Go buy it now on the Cinequest website!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Femme Fatale Animated

And that wraps it up for all my previously unposted Sketch Noir drawings! Enjoy this quick little animation (done from this initial sketch).

Monday, July 06, 2009

New Noir

After a hiatus, Sketch Noir is back to being updated. I'll post the rest of what I have over the next week or so until there aren't any left, and then I'll wrap it all up with a short animation of one of the sketches. After that, updates will be more intermittent, whenever I have more drawings to post. Enjoy.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Painting Comps

Some of these are for the paintings I just posted, while some others are for paintings I haven't done yet. For the last two, I used their color palette in this painting, but I still want to make them each into paintings of their own.

New Paintings

All found in the new Paintings section, which now replaces the Sketchbook. It didn't really make sense to have a "Sketchbook" section if I've also got a blog, and then it turned out I needed a place for these new paintings. Anyway, everything that was in there can be found somewhere in this blog, so nothing's lost.

I've also got a deviantART gallery up now, so if any of you have dA accounts, you can follow me on there: