All posts tagged: journey

BEHIND THE BEANS: HOW I CREATE BLACK & WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS

I love black and white. It’s such a powerful color palette, one that forces onlookers to move beyond the surface and explore the details contained within. Since my style of illustration is predominantly black and white—and trust me when I say that style comes with a whole set of unique challenges—I thought I’d share my process, from beginning to end, to highlight the rather detailed journey I undertake every time I craft a new piece. So, dear readers, shall we begin? / PEN TO PAPER / My process always begins with a concept. A foundation. An idea that inspires me and implores me to create. From that idea, I craft rough sketches in my sketchbook using nothing more than a standard no-frills black pen. These rough sketches help me put my ideas on paper and are typically messy. But once I have a firm grasp on the style, elements, and layout, I move on to formal sketches. This stage is more structured and involves a careful application of ink to paper in order to generate …

BEAUTIFUL CHAOS & ITS ELEGANT FRAME

All creative work must begin somewhere. That “somewhere” is generally unkempt, to say the least. But stepping back a bit from the slovenly linework and disjointed ideas reveals a piece of art, a magical composition, always unintended but pleasantly surprising. For the sake of this thought train, my attention is focused on visual art and the “somewhere” native to that discipline: Sketch studies. Sketch studies are scary and wondrous places. They unshackle the mind and give license to move within and around ideas. Studies explore nuance and grand contrasts in equal measure. And above all else, they open the door to surprises—happy accidents—that can, in fact, reveal far greater ideas…notions that would never have seen daylight without this unbridled investigation. The excitement to explore new ideas can leave a creative with barely a single breath. But at the same time, the mind can struggle against the pen in an effort to achieve perfection. And it will cringe when an errant mark defiles what was once beautiful chaos. That’s a good phrase: beautiful chaos. I’m reminded …

ON SMOKE & MIRRORS

Ladies and Gentlemen, magicians are real. Flesh and bone, living and breathing. They are not, however, the masters of prestidigitation who dazzle us with trickery born from distraction, smoke, and mirrors. Although they employ wands —to fabricate marvelous creations and previously unimaginable accomplishments—the exclamation Abracadabra!, for them, is nothing more than eleven letters and a bit of punctuation. Real magicians spin yarns of wonder. They immerse us in worlds where anything is possible. They create something from where there was once nothing, and their stage is much larger than wood planks betwixt two curtains. Their magic resides within the pen, brush, and camera. Artists are magicians. – Writing © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved; illustration © 2016 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

ON FAILED IDEAS & HOPE REBORN

Failed ideas. Attempts at something that eventually yielded nothing. Hope and excitement, shattered; a mess of broken ideas clearly born from inspiration that was delicate to begin with. But as the accumulated detritus is swept away—Whoosh!—a spark flickers. Hope is among the remnants. Therein rises the Phoenix. © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

FOOTSTEPS & TIME TRAVEL

time travel in white snow records a fresh journey footprints, a story While looking out of my studio window last week, I noticed a few tracks of footprints snaking across my driveway and side yard, after a light but fresh overnight snowfall. I didn’t see imprints from boots or loafers but instead, paths…decisions…time, by the moment. Someone was there. They had a place to go, or someone to greet, or maybe just needed to eat. And they were probably thinking about something, although the subject of that thought is now lost to the ages. But it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that they had a story. © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

An Extension of Waves and Time | Joe Blend | A 2-oz. Read

AN EXTENSION OF WAVES & TIME

life, priceless purpose monuments to moments remind us always love each breath The artwork below was made using a black Sharpie marker, a Ranger white opaque pen, a Precise V5 Rolling Ball extra fine black pen, and a sheet of paper from a Moleskine journal. The piece was then copied in black and white using an HP copier. The artwork and haiku are inspired by “Beyond Waves & the Notion of Time,” my journal post about the importance of the journey. © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

BEYOND WAVES & THE NOTION OF TIME

I’m a 44-year-old adult who doesn’t know how to swim. Naturally, I’ve never had a desire to surf. But that didn’t stop me from watching Under An Arctic Sky, a documentary about arctic surfing that’s directed by photographer Chris Burkard. It was, generally speaking, an interesting documentary. And I’ll grant you I was somewhat surprised by my curiosity toward this film, at the outset. However, it was the last 10 minutes or so that produced the real gem for me: the notion of the journey as being more important than the product of the journey. That concept gave me a good reason to reflect because, as someone who is creative on a professional level, I find it too easy to focus on the outcome…that final product, an anticipated portfolio piece, a new “thing” to share. The problem with that perspective is simple: it neglects the journey. In a journey, the substance isn’t found at the end: it lives in each of the moments experienced within. And those experiences—an engaging conversation, a magnificent view, or even the next phase of …