Saturday, November 20, 2010

Capturing Sirius

Well, from now on, I'm going to use this blog to post about all of my artistic ventures. Not just illustrations, but my music, my paintings, video projects and everything I do. So to start things off, I decided to do a new project every weekend. Last week I did a video called "I, Want, More, You". So this week, I decided to finish a music project that I had started back in August this year, but never found the time to record. Here's the final piece.

The first thing I wrote for this track was the chorus. The melody just came to me one day while I was riding the bus back home. As soon as I got back I figured out how to play it and recorded it on Guitar Rig. The piano melody came a few days later, while I was trying out a new synth instrument I was building in Garageband. Then I put it together to create the intro. The song stagnated here for a few weeks.

Later on I was just browsing through all of my previous experiments of this year and I hit up on a recording that had the 7+8 (15) time signature of the verse. I quickly figured a way to transpose it to the right scale and plugged it into the song.

After that I just played along with the track all through the weekend just going with gut feeling to figure out solo sections here and there. I wanted to create slow and absorbing solos, not really technical, but with a strong space-travel feel in them.

The arrangement of the song tells a story. The intro is more like a preparation for launch into space. The first chorus is the actual launch into space. Then the first rhythm and solo section is more like a unification of spaceships in space to create a giant spaceship. Then we venture out to find Sirius. The lyrics come in as a god like voice that gives each spaceship the instruction as to how to capture the star. Then comes another solo, which is more like getting prepared to start the capturing process. The second chorus is initiating the capture and the final solo describes the capture of Sirius and destruction of the matter within.

The lyrics is basically a play on capturing the heavens from the perspective of a spaceship. Sirius, being the brightest star in the night sky has a lot of historic and mythological significance, so the lyrics vaguely suggest that.

The song has a very spacey feel, so each time I listened to it, it felt like I was on a giant spaceship as big as the star itself. And the spaceship would use up the entire star to power itself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lotus Guitar (Work in Progress)

This one came to me in one of my dreams a year back I had logged it in my journal and completely forgotten about it. However, I'm doing a music video next semester, and I decided to go through my dream journal and this image struck me. I decided to make a painting of it so I sketched it out on paper first.
In my dream I had seen him as a white, ghostly and thin-built. But for this painting I decided to make him fat and exaggerate his shape. I'm going to make his hands and feet really small. I'm kind of liking the look of these exaggerated features, don't really know why though. So I pulled out a 16x20 canvas and my acrylics and got started with the background layer. I really had fun painting the background because it let me do what I love doing the most -- play with paint!
This actually has a few layers in it already. I started with a bright yellow wash, then dabbed on some dark blue around the edged to create the vignette. Then layered some crimson to create some highlights. Then finally used white to blend in the whole thing. I used my fingers for the whites, and totally felt alive as I painted! Next I used watercolors (orange) to draw out his outline, and then started painting in his body.
Then added the bright red guitar.
Far from complete. Much more to come soon. Sorry for the terribly lo-res pictures. I'll get the lab's T2i sometime and post better pics soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Family Vacation

So this week's topic was "Time Machine". As soon as I read the topic, the first thing that popped into my head was this incredible scene from Samurai Jack.
My first idea was to create a similar scene and make a time traveling scientist warrior character. Here's what I came up with after playing with Illustrator for a while.
It just looks like a cheap rip off! So I ditched it, and started fresh on paper. I did a bunch of sketches.
I liked this, and decided to simplify it further. I wanted to make it look very 60s style cartoon, so I drew a hat on him :D I wanted to make it flatter without perspectives like that Samurai Jack shot. After sketching for a while, I finally drew this.
I was happy with this, and I realized how much I love the process of simplifying something!

Then, I got it into Illustrator and traced it. Here's the first draft of it.
I guess I got the forms right on this one, but the colors were just awful. It still looked too busy, and there were too many things in it fighting for attention. So I let it sit there for a night. Next morning, I looked at it, and the color scheme just came to me. I went in and swapped the color swatches. And I think it worked. I also added a couple of other characters to make it look like a family. Finally, I used the ever-so-beautifully-retro-futuristic font "Neutra" for the sign board. Here's the final image again.
Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Viking Mariachi

This week's topic was "Viking Mariachi." I wanted to do something that had a balanced composition with a lot of elements, yet staying clean and uncluttered. Here' my first attempt.
I think this one looks okay when they are separated, but when all of them were put together in a single frame it looked too chaotic. So I started over. Here's the second version. This time I carefully drew the characters so that there would be no intersecting forms. I think the characters sit well together here, and each one is very different from the other.
And here's the finished piece again. I think I'll get back to this one sometime to do some shading.
You should check out the Facebook group here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Suave Monkey

So, a few people from my department have started a new Facebook page, which is somewhat like Illustration Friday. And this week's topic is "Hats & Monkeys". Perfect excuse for me to spend a couple of hours playing with Illustrator every week! Yay. So here's what I came up with for this one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wave Origami

"Wave Origami" is an instrumental techno/metal music project I've been working on for the past few weeks. It features basically metal music with generous layers of synthesizers and ambient sounds to create a space drift. So far I have two tracks recorded and available for download, and you can get it at Wave Origami. I also designed a logo for myself. Still debating it though. After much brainstorming, sketching, scanning, illustrator tracing and painful hours of eye squinting, I chose to stick with an abstract, pointy, edgy rendition of my last name "RAO" encapsulated in a black diamond. I wanted to create an iconic identity, that stood to support the nature of my music. Something futuristic, something clean, and crisp, and something that could as well pass of as a logo for some futuristic mass spaceship manufacturing corporation. Here it is.
Also, over the past few weeks, I've constantly been seeing a lot of space photos, nebula, galaxies and watching some Carl Sagan. I've been getting similar imagery in my head while composing music, so I decided to create a space field for the album art. So I fired up Photoshop. I wanted to create a space photo all by myself without reading tutorials, I just wanted to see how much I could accomplish with Photoshop without any external help. Also, fortunately our router decided to stop working one day, so I sat down with a 1200x800 pixel file in Photoshop for 3 hours straight and created this.
Here's a big image with the breakdowns of each layer. Finally, I added the logo on top of this and created a couple of mysterious gradient bubbles on them ^^,
Please comment!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

White Flower

Finally, I bought some canvas. Even though they're small (2.5" x 3.5"), they let me do what I like the most - Play with paints! Here's one such playful painting, done with fingers and acrylics.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fat Rex is Lonely

Mr. Rex ate too many Triceratops, now no one wants to date him. He's sad and lonely. This idea was suggested by a friend of mine, thanks to him!

Here's the sketch I made on paper.

More coming soon! Ideas and suggestions very welcome.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dilophosaurus in Love!

So I've decided to do a series on called "Dinos in love". Here's the first completed image. This idea was suggested to me by a friend, thanks to her! ^^,

I started out sketching using Odosketch, because I love the way things look in it. But after I finished the sketch, I didn't like it. I felt it looked too messy, and it looked like Dilophosaur was throwing up!! Anyway, here's that sketch.

So after that failed attempt, I went back to sketching on paper. This felt so easy now. And after a few minutes of scribbling, I made this.

Then I took to Illustrator. Spent about 3 hours on it was done!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stegosaur in love!

Started messing around with Odosketch after a long time. Made this.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Staying “ahead” of trouble (Illustration Friday)

I've been drawing a lot of rhinos lately, so for this week's illustration I thought I'll include a rhino in it somehow.

I spent a lot of time tweaking the colors on this one and finally ended up with yet another yellow palette. Also, I created some custom brushes in Photoshop. I took my sponge and dabbed some marks and scanned them and made brushes out of them. I plan to do more digital sponge/cell looking paintings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Steve Vai

Here's the completed vector illustration of Steve Vai.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My favorite guitarists

I spent most of my time today drawing caricatures of some of my favorite and most influential guitarists. I plan to convert these into a vector art series very soon. Can identify them? Leave your guesses in the comments :) (hold the cursor over each image to get a hint)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I (heart) Scarlett

I love Scarlett just as much as I love drawing silhouettes! So I decided to make a silhouette of her.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Detective Crow

Well, I've always wanted to own a blog meant purely for my illustrations. Today I finally made one! Hope I'll keep up with this, and continue to post all of my illustration work from now on.

I decided to start things off by doing something fun, so I head out to Illustration Friday. The topic for this week is "detective." Really fun topic. The first thing that popped in my head was film noir, so I spent a few minutes on Googling for "film noir", and I found this picture. I love that shot with hard long shadow of the man in a long coat. I decided to use those elements in my illustration.