This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.
Here's a glimpse of the sunken city of Poseidos, combined with an excerpt of the ZBS audio adventure of "Dinotopia: The World Beneath"—(turn audio on). (Link to video)
Jeffrey asks on Instagram: "Have any good tips for underwater effects and lighting?"
A: The main thing I kept in mind here was super-soft gradations of tone and a bluish cast to the colors.
---- CD: Digital download:
1. Greetings to Ron Harris and James Warhola.
2. Discussion about audio line mixers
3. Readings from Ruskin:
• painting open water
• advice to students
• atmospheric perspective.
Note his point at around 20 minutes in that cool colors don't necessarily recede, and warm colors don't necessarily advance.
So was I. In 1980, he and I decided to take a summer off from art school to ride the freight trains across America. Here's a vintage tape recording from that journey. The quality isn't great, but it's a memory rescued from oblivion.
Thomas Kinkade and James Gurney in Missouri
I first met Thomas Kinkade in 1976, when he was assigned as my freshman college roommate at UC Berkeley. After Berkeley, we were both art students at Art Center in Pasadena. The train-riding idea began after we met a hobo named Bud at a freight yard in Los Angeles. He told us which cars to ride and where to catch them. We decided to give it a try. We got short haircuts and we packed our backpacks with sketchbooks, markers, corncob pipes, felt hats, uniform shirts, and a Tupperware full of a mixture of peanut butter and honey. We were inspired by the writers Charles Kuralt and John Steinbeck, and we wanted to do the same thing with art.
All that summer we slept in graveyards and on rooftops and sketched portraits of gravestone cutters and lumberjacks. To make money we drew two-dollar portraits in bars by the light of cigarette machines.
By the time we got to Manhattan, we had a crazy idea to write a how-to book on sketching. We hammered out the basic plan for the book on Burger King placemats.
By night we slept on abandoned piers and by day we made the rounds of the publishers. We eventually got a contract from Watson-Guptill, and The Artist's Guide to Sketchingwas published in 1982. It is as much about the adventure of sketching on the road as it is about technique.
One effect of that trip on both of us was that we got a healthy respect for how all kinds of different people look at artwork. We set up at the Missouri state raccoon-hunting championships with the goal of doing portraits of everybody’s favorite dogs. The owners were very particular with the dogs’ proportions and markings, and they weren’t going to pay us two dollars unless we got the details right. It was a tougher critique than we ever got in art school.
We never returned to art school. My art-school friend Jeanette and I stayed in touch and we did some sketching trips together. She stayed through school to graduate from ArtCenter, and I learned what I could from her class notes.
I was always friendly with Tom in later years, but we were both busy and didn't stay in very close touch. Our families went on a few painting excursions together during the subsequent decades, to Colorado, Ireland, and the Catskills of New York State. I was sad Tom died so young, because his fearlessness and exuberance were a big influence on me.
As a footnote, Thomas Kinkade's New York Times obituary in 2012 said that "Mr. Kinkade traversed the country by boxcar with another artist, James Gurney, to sketch the American landscapes that they encountered."
One of the commentators after the obit doubted the veracity of the claim: “Really? Do you believe that a man born in 1958 traveled around the US in a boxcar like some Depression-Era hobo? He must be laughing wherever he is, that someone was gullible [enough] to believe that myth-making."
Previously: Working on Fire and Ice with Tom Kinkade
New tools will let you edit and invent spoken words
Published: November 16,
2016 | 12:49
Adobe recently gave a sneak peak of new software called #VoCo with an amazing (and potentially alarming) capacity to edit recorded speech.
Users will easily be able to change word order and even to invent new words using a simple keyboard interface. Novel words can be generated if you have a database of about 20 minutes of recorded speech to draw from. (Link to YouTube).
A few implications:
1. Fake news stories with manufactured quotes will be easy to create.
2. Human voice actors won't be need to read an entire recorded book or to voice every line for an animated film, especially for low budget productions.
3. Adding voices in ADR to the sound edit of a film will be much easier.
If you like listening to immersive soundscapes while you're painting, you'll enjoy the BBC podcasts by Chris Watson. He's a wildlife sound recordist who takes his sensitive equipment all over the world. His 15-minute programs punctuate the environmental captures with his voice identifying what you're hearing.
Sample episodes: Midnight at the Oasis—The sounds of the Kalahari Desert, from dusk to dawn, including interesting audio perspectives from the microphone beneath the sand dunes and under the bark of trees.
St James Park—Tracking wildlife in urban environments near his home in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he starts with the weekend revelers and sports fans discarding food and litter. Then we hear the sound of rats and mice eating up the scraps, followed by the urban predators, such as tawny owls and foxes.
Glacial Melt — The sounds of calving glaciers in Antarctica, together with the birds, seals, and whales as heard from above and below the water. Watson combines a rich imagination to the informed awareness of a naturalist.
It's Tuesday, time for Episode 12 of the serialized audio dramatization of Dinotopia: The World Beneath. Sorry, the track was only available for a week, but check this week for the latest one.
A scene of the pod village of Bonabba, where Will is learning more about piloting skybaxes. Arthur tries to sell the locals on the mechanical strutters that he found in The World Beneath.
But they have a way of getting out of control, as these robot dinosaurs have a mind of their own. When I did these paintings in 1993, I had no idea we would see semi-sentient autonomous walkers within two decades.
This audio re-creation was produced by ZBS Productions. Audio wizard Tom Lopez and composer Tim Clark created many layers of sound to make Dinotopia come alive to the ears.
The Christian Science Monitor called this production "A dazzling soundscape that does full justice to Gurney’s wondrous lost world… perfect family listening.”
Episode 13 arrives in a week. Each short episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear.