From Bleached Bones

John Lee's Illustration Blog
Memphians! And persons with private jets and/or mutant flight abilities:
The Memphis, Illustrated show at the Dixon Gallery is up! Come out to the official opening and reception on Thursday from 6-8pm. Say hello! It’s easy to spot illustrators: we’re the really beautiful ones with hunched backs and early onset arthritis. 
Non-Memphians: the Dixon is one of the two big art museums here in town, so it’s really cool that they’re doing a show highlighting a small sampling of the illustration scene here. That includes these artists and friends:
Jay Crum
Derrick Dent
Michelle Duckworth
Clare Freeman
Lauren Rae Holtermann (who did the banner image above)
Some annoying guy who writes too much on his blog
Ronnie Lewis
Gino Pambianchi
Kong Wee Pang
Please check out their work since you can’t make it to the show! Yay, illustration! 
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Memphians! And persons with private jets and/or mutant flight abilities:
The Memphis, Illustrated show at the Dixon Gallery is up! Come out to the official opening and reception on Thursday from 6-8pm. Say hello! It’s easy to spot illustrators: we’re the really beautiful ones with hunched backs and early onset arthritis. 
Non-Memphians: the Dixon is one of the two big art museums here in town, so it’s really cool that they’re doing a show highlighting a small sampling of the illustration scene here. That includes these artists and friends:
Jay Crum
Derrick Dent
Michelle Duckworth
Clare Freeman
Lauren Rae Holtermann (who did the banner image above)
Some annoying guy who writes too much on his blog
Ronnie Lewis
Gino Pambianchi
Kong Wee Pang
Please check out their work since you can’t make it to the show! Yay, illustration! 
Zoom
Info

Memphians! And persons with private jets and/or mutant flight abilities:

The Memphis, Illustrated show at the Dixon Gallery is up! Come out to the official opening and reception on Thursday from 6-8pm. Say hello! It’s easy to spot illustrators: we’re the really beautiful ones with hunched backs and early onset arthritis. 

Non-Memphians: the Dixon is one of the two big art museums here in town, so it’s really cool that they’re doing a show highlighting a small sampling of the illustration scene here. That includes these artists and friends:

Please check out their work since you can’t make it to the show! Yay, illustration! 

Anonymous asked:
Hi! I see that you are a professor at MCA? I've been accepted into their Illustration program this fall. They've given me a generous scholarship and seem to be very interested in me. But I've looked online at the reviews and they just have me scared. What was your experience like teaching there? Do you personally think it's a good place to study? I've been accepted to SVA's illustration program as well. I would value your input on which school I should consider attending! Thanks much!

Hello!

This might have been better suited as an e-mail, but I’ll answer it here. If you have further questions, please email me at john (at) johnleedraws.com.

I no longer teach at MCA, as I am about to pursue my Masters at, er, SVA. I actually received a very similar question earlier, which you can check out here. I’ll try and be as unbiased as possible; that means the good, the bad, the ugly

A BFA is a very risky proposition for the money invested; you have to understand that going in. If you are OK with the risks (and depending on your background, the risks might be greater or less than others) then that’s how I would determine on where to go for undergrad. It becomes a value judgement on what you’re getting for your buck, I suppose. 

SVA is, without a doubt, the superior school in terms of resources available to the individual student. It’s perennially regarded as one of the top art schools in the country, certainly for illustration.  But is it the best value, especially if you have a hefty scholarship to MCA? I’m not so sure. 

MCA is a much smaller school, and in a lot of ways is primarily aimed at the Mid-South. Just pulling numbers off the site; while the current student body comes from 25 states and 5 foreign countries, 60% come from the Mid-South. So if you grew up in the South, and it’d be easier for you to stay around here, that’s definitely a plus. 

The reviews that you’ve read (from where?) are probably old and don’t reflect the entire situation from the past 3 years. The Illustration program, when I was teaching and when I left, was in the process of rebuilding. In 2012, there was a lot of shuffling around, and some tough decisions made in the wake of a hard financial shakeup. I would like to stress that this is not unique to MCA.

When a school has to dramatically restructure, I’m afraid one of the hardest hit areas is usually the academic quality, and those repercussions affect students the most. The other instructors and I tried to offset that as much as possible when I was teaching (to varying degrees of success on my part.) 

Here’s the good news: recently, MCA read the writing on the wall, and decided to give a huge amount of institutional support towards illustration (and comics!) specifically. Once regarded as a red-headed step-child to drawing and painting, it’s now the largest department on campus, occupies a prominent amount of the school, and is headed by a new professor, Michele Noiset. Michele is absolutely awesome in all regards, and I couldn’t be happier that she took the reins. 

Whatever the illustration department was, it is now better and getting better ever day. I’m hesitant to make any predictions, but I’d say that in a few years, if given the chance, it will be comparable to other regional schools in the area like KCAI and VCU. 

It is, however, very small. You can’t go into it thinking that, say, Sam Weber and Yuko Shimizu are going to teach you how to paint and ink. But, you should go into art school (wherever you end up) willing to work hard regardless of who’s instructing you. 

One last note: if you’re being heavily recruited by MCA, that means that they really want you. And because the school is so small that doesn’t stop once you get to campus. We teachers talk about y’all all the time and if you’re superlative, then everyone definitely takes notice. 

So take all this for what it’s worth (a blog post on tumblr). Again, feel free to e-mail me if you have any additional questions. 

Anonymous asked:
So I am currently torn between the way I want to work and the way my work turns out , I usually work by inking a drawing and coloring in photoshop but sometimes I find it easier to skip the inking and just going straight to photoshop. I feel like this duality in my work is causing my work to look inconsistent. Do you have an advice on choosing a method in which to work?

Hello hello,

I can’t really say either way without seeing your work. In the long term, I think you should actually continue to do both, because they both have advantages. Illustration has always been quick to take advantage of technological advances.

It used to be (oh man, I feel old) that the digitizers on tablets (read: Wacoms) weren’t so great and Photoshop couldn’t handle interpolating data for a mark when zoomed out. I distinctly remember using a 1 px round brush, zoomed in to 100%, to draw this image like 6 years ago: image

Gross. Nowadays though, the gap is closed considerably in terms of having drawing “feel” the same. Photoshop CS5 and up have an improved brush engine, there are alternatives strictly for “inking” like Manga Studio, and there’s a host of naturalistic brush sets like Kyle Webster's or Ray Frenden’s— not to mention making your own.

That’s to say that it’s easier now to have your digital tools echo your analog ones. Some other things you can do are lay a piece of paper over your tablet, change to a harder nib on the stylus, or use a soft cotton glove with the fingers cut out so your hand doesn’t catch when you “cut” lines.

Doing sketches (not thumbs) and being able to erase and move things around definitely makes digital faster in some regards. Good to know when you have to chase those short deadlines.

However, the most advanced digital brush engine or most expensive tablet in the world can’t replace the physicality, sensitivity, and serendipity of pushing a medium around. Check out this drawing by Greg Ruth:

image

I think the biggest drawback with drawing digitally is that more often than not, you have to program and set up your tools to have a certain sensitivity or effect. You even have to input information for randomness. In terms of “feeling” it sometimes feels like drawing with one of those plastic kid’s baseball bats. You also don’t have an original to sell or show if you need to.

However, I think that the inconsistency that you’re perceiving is actually less about hardware and more about “software,” ie. how you draw. For example, take this video of freakin’ Moebius drawing on a cintiq in 2009. He was 70 years old at the time. And despite having never used a tablet before in his life, his drawing looks, well, just like a Moebius drawing should. I think there comes a point after drawing so much that your process becomes just a natural extension of yourself— regardless of medium.

Drawing is about sensitivity. I think it’s easier to cultivate a confident and free hand with analog materials, and then translating that to digital, rather than vice versa. I say that after observing students, as well as in my own experience.

In the end, it’s up to your own sensibilities however, and how that synchs up with your “voice.”

One last caveat, and I’m hesitant to put this out there: I’d be willing to bet that your analog drawings will still feel “fresh” 10, 20, even 50 years from now. That digital drawing that I posted at the top feels so, SO dated to me, and that was just 6 years ago.

nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info
nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.
Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.
The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.
Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent
Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor
Zoom
Info

nymoon:

Putin is everywhere, so it seems. A living metonym for Russia, Putin has lately begun to inhabit the consciousness of the West itself, literally put-in there by a kind of force. It is tempting to attribute Putin’s ubiquity to Russia’s current, and quite likely temporary, geopolitical resurgence: Putin is (in) on our minds because Putin is in (on) the news. But the truth is that Putin has been in our heads for longer than he has been making headlines. Mitt Romney saw him at an election debate with Obama. More recently, thousands have seen his likeness in the viral photograph of young man with a camera looking at Ronald Reagan during his visit to Red Square.

Perhaps Putin has always been here among us. Indeed, for all his overt appeals to Russian conservatism, a glance at the ever growing album of Putin photo-shoots shows the remarkable Western thrust of his alter-egos: Putin as Marlboro Man, bareback; Putin as Tarzan in the weeds; as Teddy Roosevelt astride a shot wild animal; as Amelia Earhart impersonating a crane; as Rambo clutching a rifle, as James Bond in a suit with a gun; as a Hell’s Angel mounting a trike; as a balding Bruce Lee, eyes, epicanthically folded by Botox and fixed on a prostrate opponent; as Maverick Mitchell (alas, in a MiG); all the way back to Adonis, wading out of the water clutching urns.

The Marlboro man is dead; Earhart is lost; there are no more Roosevelts in the White House. Putin is everywhere because it is we who have changed, and he remains: a talisman of our pasts.

Images: John Lee, Aurora Andrews, Zaq Landsberg, and Derrick Dent

Text: Vadim Nikitin, nostalgia editor

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