Thursday, February 28, 2008

NBA Friday: Richard Jefferson

This week's team is the New Jersey Nets and I chose to illustrate small forward Richard Jefferson.

I decided to place him in a swamp, since the arena the Nets play in is often referred to as "The Swamp." I've also wanted to paint a swamp or marshland for a while and this gave me the perfect excuse.

I enjoyed working on this painting, building up the colors and textures of the trees, painting the birds and painting the reflections in the water. I also love using that bright green color which works really well in a swamp painting.

[Note: I was first introduced to that color, Holbein Permanent Green No. 1, by Tom Lynch, who taught a watercolor workshop in Ottawa a few years ago. Tom is a great watercolorist who hosted a painting show on PBS years ago and has published some helpful watercolor books. I brought him a Frosty from Wendy's and I quickly became his favorite student.]

Richard Jefferson has had a great season, although the Nets haven't fared too well. The team is in the midst of a rebuilding stage and just traded their key player, Jason Kidd. New Jersey fans will have to enjoy their team while they can, as the Nets are planning to relocate to Brooklyn as early as the 2010 season.

This piece is painted on Arches 90lb cold press watercolor paper. I used ink, watercolors, oil pastels, gouache and pencil crayon. You can see this piece larger on the Portraiture page and on SLAMonline in the Links by Lang Whitaker.

Friday, February 22, 2008

NBA Friday: Kevin Martin

Last week I posted an illustration of Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings. Due to All-Star weekend madness last week things were thrown off a bit so I'm sticking with the Kings again this week to coordinate the NBA Friday schedule with SLAMonline.

I'm glad I had a second chance to do a drawing of Kevin Martin because he's been a great player this season. He is in his third year with the Sacramento Kings and currently averaging about 23 points a game to match his jersey number.

I went with a pretty simple drawing of him on some toned watercolor paper. I used technical pens, black and white conte crayons and pencils.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dunk Contest Update

Well, unfortunately Rudy Gay didn't use the dunk I designed for him in last night's dunk contest. He performed two dunks but didn't make it to the final round, where I am assuming he was planning to unveil the Dirty Jersey dunk.

Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic (pictured) won the contest with some creative and freakishly athletic dunks, including this dunk where he donned a Superman shirt and cape. Ah, to be 6'11".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NBA Friday: Ron Artest

For this week's NBA Friday I decided to paint Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings. There have been rumors that he could be traded before the trading deadline next week and his teammate Kevin Martin is probably a more deserving player, but Artest is just a more interesting subject.

Instead of concentrating on the team he plays for I wanted to focus mainly on his face. I wanted to show that despite his great defense and scoring abilities, when you think about Ron Artest, unfortunately other things come to mind instead of his basketball talents.

Artest was involved in the "Malice at the Palace," a brawl with other players and fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a game against the Detroit Pistons. Artest was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season (a total of 73 games plus the playoffs), having received the harshest punishment out of everyone involved.

The fines and suspensions can overshadow his game and if he's going to be traded then teams will have to consider his reputation.

I wanted to represent the Queensbridge Houses where he grew up and I drew in the numbers he's worn over his career (he wore one number, 91, to pay tribute to another NBA player notorious for bad behavior, Dennis Rodman).

I had also originally painted in a Circuit City (Artest applied for a job there during his rookie season so he could get the employee discount), some images of the brawl in Detroit, and even a Rottweiler (alluding to his problems as a dog owner as well as a nickname, Ron-Ron the Rottweiler, given to him by SLAM magazine's Lang Whitaker) but all that was too distracting, so I scaled it back to what you see now.

You can see this piece larger on the Portraiture page and on SLAMonline in the Links by Lang Whitaker.

Rudy Gay's Response

Last week I posted a step-by-step illustration of a dunk I came up with for Rudy Gay (of the Memphis Grizzlies) to perform at the Dunk Contest this weekend.

Today, writer Michael Tillery posted a Q&A with Rudy Gay on SLAMonline where he posed this question:

Tillery: There is a talented illustrator, Joel Kimmel, who does stuff on SLAM. He drew up this dunk where you throw the rock in front of it bounces you catch it in your shirt as you rise...with your left hand slap the ball around your back and as the ball comes out you put it between your legs and throw it down. That possible?

The look on Rudy's face after I explain each step was priceless.

Gay: (Laughing) I don't know man, I want to see him do it. That could be hot.

I'm not counting out the possibility that Rudy was bluffing! I'd love to see him try my dunk or a variation of it. Watch the Dunk Contest on Saturday night to see what happens or check back here to find out if he attempts it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Binoculars and Bird Nest

Here are a couple more little drawings I did recently.

It snowed most of the day here yesterday. It was the first time all winter that it really snowed and it was quite nice.

Coming from Ottawa, where they are currently approaching an all-time record for snowfall, it's strange to be somewhere in the winter with no snow. Unfortunately it's been raining here all day so the snow is mostly all gone.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oil Illustrations

Here are a couple drawings I did for a recent project. I enjoy drawing these technical things.

Friday, February 8, 2008

NBA Friday: The Dirty Jersey performed by Rudy Gay

This is a bit of a variation on the NBA Friday series. This week I illustrated a slam dunk that I invented (I think I have at least).

The reason behind my doing this is thanks to the campaign by one of this year's NBA Slam Dunk contestants, Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies. Rudy posted a video on the internet asking fans to submit a video of a dunk they would like him to perform during the All Star Weekend's dunk contest.

I keep a sheet of paper on my drafting table with a growing list of all the things I want to paint and for about 8 months I've had "dunk process" written on it. Rudy's call for entries got me moving on this illustration I've wanted to do for a long time and now there's a slight possibility that if he sees it and likes it he may attempt it.

So, here is the how-to illustration of my dunk, which I call The Dirty Jersey. It is essentially a between-the-legs dunk with a twist...literally!

I was inspired by the dribble move where the dribbler bounces the ball upwards into his jersey, slaps it and sends the ball twisting around his body where it falls out of the jersey in front of the dribbler (a streetball move).

I imagined this being pulled off in the air and turned into a through-the-legs dunk. It can all work pretty seamlessly, as diagramed in my illustration.

Step 1: The player throws the ball into the air and chases after it.
Step 2: As the ball is about to bounce, the player begins to jump.
Step 3: While jumping, the player opens his jersey to allow the ball to enter off the bounce.
Step 4: The player catches the ball in his jersey.
Step 5: With his left hand, the player slaps the ball to send it spiraling clockwise around his body beneath the jersey.
Step 6: As the ball exits on the left side, the player takes the ball with his left hand and moves it under his right leg.
Steps 7-10: The hardest part is over and the player completes the dunk.

The dunk I diagramed is the more difficult version, with a lot of the difficulty coming with getting the timing right to get the ball into the jersey off the bounce. The slightly simpler version would be for the player to place the ball under the jersey and then attempt the dunk. Either way, if Rudy can complete this dunk I'd be honored and proud. Good luck, Rudy!

The Dunk Contest isn't until the weekend of February16th so I hope this gives Rudy enough time to practice if he feels it's a good enough dunk to perform.

You can see this illustration larger on the Portfolio page or on in the Links by Lang Whitaker.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Endangered Species

This is an illustration for an article that looks into the possibility that boys could be an endangered species where there are high levels of pollution.

After researching numerous communities where there were high risks of exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals, researchers found a disproportionate number of girls to boys.

The problem has even been found in areas that seem remote from any risks of pollution, finding that high levels of chemicals have made their way into the people's systems through their seafood diets.

You can see this piece larger on the Portfolio page.

Friday, February 1, 2008

NBA Friday: Josh Smith

This week's team is the Atlanta Hawks and I decided to paint Josh Smith.

I really enjoy painting birds and that's why this piece was one I was looking forward to when I first started doing the NBA Friday project.

I decided to approach the piece with the inspiration of an old John James Audubon painting. Audubon is famous for his paintings and catalog of birds that he published in the 1830's, Birds of America.

First off I did some research finding some of his bird paintings and researching which type of hawk I should portray. I went through a lot of photos of hawks until I found a type of hawk that looked similar to the one in the Atlanta Hawks logo. That ended up being the Harris Hawk, which was actually named by Audubon after his friend Edward Harris.

I gave the paper an aged look (the edges show the marks from the staples I use to stretch my watercolor paper) with washes of watercolor and then went to work on placing Josh Smith in a landscape with some Harris Hawks and the Atlanta skyline in the background. I added some of Josh's info on the bottom of the piece, much like Audubon would have done to catalog birds.

Josh Smith is a 6'9" forward and is currently 2nd in the League in blocks per game (3.2) and is averaging 18 points a game. Josh was the 2005 Slam Dunk Champion.

This piece is best viewed larger, which you can see on the Portraiture page. You can also see this piece on in the Links by Lang Whitaker.