Friday, June 04, 2010

Episode 68--Ideas and ID's...

This week Socar, Patrick, Drew, and Jeremy discuss the synergy of dynamic paradigms...or something like that....
We also discuss the challenge of being original in the genre market along with setting out your shingle.

Make sure to subscribe to the Ninja Mountain Podcast on iTunes or Socar will come to your studio and take your all your lunch money.

You should also head on over to the Visual Artist Podcast Network to check out all the great studio listening!

Many thanks to KiiChan and Brian Bowes, two very talented artists who stepped up with interesting topics of conversation this week!

Here are some fun question for listeners---
What was it like setting up your business?
What is the most egregious job title you've encountered?
What obstacles to originality have you encountered in your work? How did you conquer them?
Fantasy Illustrator or Fantasy Artist---which are you?


Gordon Napier said...

Came up with a couple of other alternative job title the other day: a Voluntary Fiscal Contribution Solicitation Co-ordinator- (that's a beggar). An Extra-Judiciary Property Redistribution Specialist- (that's a thief...)

Patrick, look forward to seeing your Spiral dragons. I still draw dragons like they did in the middle ages, basically, although I have also drawn one with feathers.

Unknown said...

Woah, thanks for the plug Jeremy! Although I never thought that "kii" could be considered a masculine name. Thanks for answering my questions, looks like everything was easier than I thought...

I still have many steps to take before I can say I'm an illustrator (you know, like getting a job with a publisher!), but I discovered that some people will refuse your work if they don't think it ticks enough of those "traditional representation" boxes. I suppose it goes along with Patrick's grievances-- not many average fans want a feathered dragon, and not many average fans want a fairy that doesn't feature gossamer, Froud-like wings.

I'm not sure I uh, conquered them, but I think that if you can distill what makes those traits so popular and do something that gives a similar feeling, more people will be receptive to your changes. Gee, who knew it was just that easy.

Thanks again everyone at Ninja Mountain!

Ninja Mountain said...

Hey KiiChan--my apologies for the gender gaffe, your avatar on Twitter shows a dude with a handlebar moustache and that threw me off the scent.
I hadn't had time to investigate your website before the show started.

On the bright side, I didn't mistake you for a man after actually meeting you. :)
I totally hear you, though. I think some of my stranger concepts have sometimes met with ambivalence from viewers.

Gordon---try this one on your studio business card---Imagistic Engineering Specialist...Cryptozoological Imagineer...hmmm...keep'em comin'.

Gordon Napier said...

Going to need a bigger card for that one... Actually I do need some more cards. On my old card it had 'Artist and Illustrator', which is sort of saying the same thing twice, as someone mentioned. It's like saying 'Matador and Bull Fighter.' To come to think of it, these days the difference between artist and illustrator may be that the latter involves less bull.

Unknown said...

Howdy Ninja Jeremy, and all,

Thank you so much for taking sometime to discuss my question. I do think it's funny that we take some of these "tropes" for granted, but every once and again an artist comes along and pushes the edge a bit. As was mentioned in the podcast, Frank Frazetta is a great example. It's as easy as looking at the pulp covers of Conan before, and then after.

I guess another aspect of this question of ideation ( is there a better word for this?! ) is about generating creative solutions to the problems we're faced with. I think that there's a number of tools at hand that we can use to change it up a little, and that will hopefully help our work stand out a little. Things like color palette, point of view, or gesture.

Anyway, thanks a ton for the link and the shout-out. I really dig the podcast and everyone who's putting their time and energy into it, so thank you so much for all your hard work!


Alonso said...

I work at a video game company and every time it's time for a new "cool monster" I feel like my co-workers instantly start thinking of all their favorite blockbusters: "let's make a big bad ass gorilla. let's make a giant demon on fire, just like a balrog." etc. (wish you allowed anonymous posts so I could have some cover saying that ;) )I find it very tedious. The argument is that we have to do things that are iconic so that they are instantly understood and recognized. But like you guys were saying; Pirates weren't Iconicly defined until Pyle, Barbarian's weren't iconicly defined until Frazetta. Personally I would rather be creating new icons then copying.

Anyway, I was wondering if Patrick, being the resident historian, can fill us in on who else was the creator of icons? Where did the common idea for dragons and elves and dwarves etc come from? Cuz if the client is going to insist on you copying, you may as well go to the source right?

thanks for the great show, I listen everyweek!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone!

Alonso - Dragons are hard to pin down historically, because they have been generally pretty much like we see them now for centuries (though usually not as well drawn!)

Here's a really good resource for studying historical interpretations of dragons. You can see that, other than size (they were mostly very small - poor things could usually be crushed by a horse, let alone getting stabbed by burly knights!) they were very similar to modern interpretations.

Here's one from 1912 that is already almost exactly what we see nowadays, down to the leathery wings and the claws.

I dunno about elves and dwarves/hobbits (did they get really codified first by Tolkien?) though there was a huge craze for making fake photos of "fairies" around the turn of the 20th century. I'm sure a lot of the modern visuals came from that. But maybe there's a listener or Ninja reading this who can shed some light on that subject?

Gordon Napier said...

Regarding elves and fairies, Henry Fuselli pioneered this sort of thin in the late eightenth century, doing paintings inspired by Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. There was a whole genre of fairy art in the 19th century prefiguring the fake photography. Artists included John Simmons, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Robert Huskisson, Richard Dadd (who was mad and killed his faher), Arthur Rackham, and John Anster Fitzgerald, (who very much prefiguring the likes of Brian Froud and Ed Org).