Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kurt Cobain - cover illustration

Kurt Cobain: Graham Smith
Even though I was overbooked with assignments, when the call to illustrate Nirvana's Kurt Cobain for a 90's revival issue of the Phoenix New Times came in, I said yes, and worried about where to find the time, later! Read the article, by Chris Parker.

Art Director Peter Storch was full of great ideas that got me all pumped up to draw the portrait. But, as we developed the sketches, it seemed that some of the concepts were not really true to the ideals Kurt Cobain stood for as an artist. He died at 27 years old, feeling very misunderstood, and we wanted to be sensitive to that.

Detail - Kurt Cobain - Graham Smith
One of the ideas that didn't make it out of the rough stage, was an image of Kurt wearing buttons of popular bands from the 90's. Kurt would have hated to be a billboard, so we chucked the idea.

All my 90's era plaid shirts have all been recycled by craft projects or given away; but the Art Director kept one of his favorites, and sent me a scan.

I repainted his favorite old plaid shirt by hand, because the photo looked funny with the drawing. (I was a textile designer back in the day, so I knew just what to do.)

Once the portrait was finished, I crumpled, folded, and distressed a piece of paper to use as the masthead. Peter fine tuned it, and another collaboration was complete.

Young Kurt Cobain and his Fender - sketch: Graham Smith

Kurt Cobain, ink in process: Graham Smith
A big drop of ink fell right on his nose when I was darkening his eye sockets. The drop followed the ink lines conturing his face, and ended up looking like a black tear. I left the ink tear alone, instead of editing it out with Photoshop. Sometimes, mistakes are the best part.

- G

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sony Life Drawing Workshop - Fall 2012

Life Drawing Workshop
Fall 2012
Sept 18th - Nov 6th
Tuesdays 6-9pm
Instructed by Graham Smith

This fall, the Sony Life Drawing Workshop will go back to basics by drawing from nude life models in short poses. This workshop is open to artists and animators currently working at SOE and SCEA.
The sessions start with 20 minutes of warm up drawing, followed by pose from 2 - 20 minutes.


A big drawing board, at least 18 x 24.
18 x 24 paper - your choice
                smooth newsprint - erases easier
                rough newsprint - nice grainy texture
                sketch paper - white (Canson Biggie Sketch or Strathmore sketch)
Drawing implements - one or many of the following:
                charcoal pencil's, soft -  General
                woodless graphite pencils - 6b
                graphite sticks - 6b
                conte crayons
                colored pencils - get the cheap ones made by Blick.
                colored pencil sticks - the size of a small french fry, all color, no wood.
                pens - ball point
Pencil sharpener - get a good one, or a razor blade.
kneaded eraser 
Small eraser -  like the Tuff Stick, the mechanical pencil of erasers.


                Brush pens: Tombo, one end like a brush, the other end like a felt tip marker.
                oil pastels
                markers - bring half dried up ones too, they make a nice texture
                other kinds of paper - toned or color

Is there something you've always wanted to try? Experimentation is part of the workshop. Bring a few things to see what you like. 

Blick Art Materials

1844 India St.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 687-0050

Artist and Craftsman Supply

San Diego, CA
3804 Fourth Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619.688.1911

Friday, September 7, 2012

La Gaita Movie Poster

My cousin Janine Fung, a fantastically talented film maker, premieres her newest documentary, La Gaita, on Sept 22nd and 27th at the Little Carib Theatre, and MOVIETOWN in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

La Gaita is a documentary film about 2 brothers and their band, who sole mission is to bring hope and comfort to the downtrodden, poor and lonely, by singing them traditional music, in the old time ways.

I illustrated this poster for the movie by combining imagery from the national flag of Trinidad, a red field with a white and black diagonal stripe, and the cuattro, the traditional 4 string guitar that characterizes Parang, a type of Trinidadian folk music. To emphasize to La Gaita's underlying themes, one can see a Christian cross, and rays of lights, emerging from the black ink.

La Gaita, roughly translated from the patois, means, " The bad is not to fix."

- G

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drawing on Grocery Bags

Bree on brown paper: Graham Smith

Acrylic wash, colored pencol, white chalk on a brown paper grocery bag, from life.

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