donny nguyen.
donny nguyen.
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the topic for illustration friday this week is surrender. my first thought was to do something more suggestive or passionate but ambiguously so. i thought if i depicted someone’s hand tightly gripping someone else’s hand that might depict surrender if the other hand were limp. at the same time, a tight grip on someone else might suggest conflict as well, where people tend to surrender. and, according to hollywood, conflicts that begin like this, seem to somehow end up in the extreme surrender of pants coming off.

but with what is going on in egypt right now, that just got me thinking about conflict in general. these things seem to seldom resolve in stalemates and only one side seems to ever benefit and that’s only if the conflict comes to a close. that last little tidbit got me thinking about the the never-ending feud between israel and palestine. it seems so much more extreme considering neither side seems willing to surrender or back down. i’m not very versed in the history of that conflict or even the present state but it doesn’t seem to me that either side is tremendously “stronger.” it seems like someone will have to let go to end the cycle.

geiss & donaghy

here we have jack donaghy and his mentor don geiss, reincarnated into a peacock as one episode suggested. the intent behind this illo was to try and preserve a little but of humour while revealing some traits of the inventor of the tri-vection-oven.

essentially, this is about the relationship between donaghy and his mentor. also, i just wanted this to remind viewers of the rather hilarious storyline involving them and gob devon banks and their battle to succeed geiss. argus was don geiss’s pet peacock whom donaghy inherited after geiss’s passing. donaghy ended up believing that the soul of don geiss resided in the peacock’s body and in a strangely profound (for 30 rock…right??) way reinforces the idea of donaghy’s devotion to nbc. so instead of the peacock’s usual tail (which i thought was too obvious), a certain television network’s logo is suggested. but this isn’t just to reference nbc – it’s also to try and show that jack is using the logo to compensate for the peacock not wanting to dazzle us. donaghy’s a fixer so this is his fix to try and dazzle and sell you on something he wants you to do.

i don’t think i will post much on the process this time but i did draw and ink this on a much larger scale than usual. scanning that in proved to be a bit of a palaver but it turned out ok.

here are some more detailed crops:


samurai i am awry

i do love me some 30 rock. if you’ve been paying attention, i finished a movie poster for a blaffair to rememblack a little while back. 30 rock is one of those shows where the one-liners come out of nowhere and then sometimes they just disappear all together to make room for more. for my next project, i wanted to try and incorporate some of my favourite lines and moments. rather than try and posterise this one, i just wanted to have fun with an illustration.

the underlying inspiration is one tracy jordan line: “i spent nine months in japan filming samurai i am awry.” when i first heard the line i thought he said, “samurai i-amurai” and that he was just making up a ridiculous word. in doing research for rememblack, i actually saw the written text and had a good chuckle, long after the fact.


one of my favourite scenes from the entire series comes from the first episode where tracy is seen running down a highway in tightey-whiteys and tube socks, wielding a toy light sabre, and screaming, “i am a jedi! i am a jedi!!”

again, genius.

so that scene also needed to be alluded to in this illustration. in continuing with this story that i made up to drive the illustration, i took the liberty of setting it in japan and assuming that he didn’t actually finish filming the samurai movie. his character just doesn’t really finish anything. but in his defense, in this alternate 30 rock dimension (30-D?? lame), he finds a real lightsabre. would you keep on filming a movie if you found a light sabre? i rest my case.

i like that 30 rock embraces the cliches and makes fun of them so i wanted tracy running off in a meadow or something toward a sunset in a very cliche way. while doing so he would just shed his samurai armour and sword along his path. i realised early on that if he were running off toward the horizon, there would be little to tell the viewer that it’s tracy jordan outside of the title and his outfit from the first episode. but this is a drawing for 30 rock fans who i hope will understand.

here is the initial sketch:

originally i was going to make this a tad more destructive. tracy would’ve just been trying (and succeeding!) to cut up everything in his path. so you can see singed tree stumps and sliced trees and grass if you look closely. i decided against this though as i wasn’t sure if there would be just too many elements drawing the viewer’s attention in so many directions. in more experienced hands, this probably could’ve been done effectively but i’m not going to claim that my hands are anywhere close to that.

another problem was that there really wasn’t any imagery to suggest the japanese landscape.  cherry trees came to mind but i thought the more obvious choice would’ve been a pagoda or temple silhouette or something. i just very quickly (and crappily) drew up where i wanted the trees to be and the temple as well.

so far so good. i got to drawing more detailed trees and i also decided to leave out the temple / pagoda. just wasn’t feeling it. i did a cleaning of my studio recently and i can’t find the final pencil sketch of the trees so on to the inking. i’m not sure if i’ll make a habit of this but i thought i’d try inking in steps and scanning the results to try and save time if mistakes were made. here’s the rough progression:


the original is 11 x 18″ and was scanned in a couple of times and stitched together in photoshop. here is the full piece and some detailed shots.

i have to admit i didn’t really think too far ahead about the colour palette but i decided to stick to what i guess you’d call realistic colours. one thing was for sure, tracy jordan would want to rock a lightsabre coloured like the only “bad ass muthafucka” jedi – mace windu. also, tracy’s underwear had to be white.

the trees, field, hills, and sky were pretty much decided on in this kind of typical field setting. for the sky, i did want to have a nice blue-purple-red transition. i wasn’t overly sure about the colour of his discarded armour though. he seems to wear a lot of red so i thought about doing a red and yellow scheme but i kept being reminded of the flash or ironman. i pondered it while moving on to colouring tracy’s socks and shoes.

as soon as i got to his shoes, i remembered the episode where tracy not only dons golden shoes, but is too proud to be helped to lug around the weight. another great scene and that answered the question for his armour – gold!

the colour process overall took longer than i thought. this post is getting pretty long so i won’t really detail it here but i may update this later on. i ended up with many, many layers and a 500+ mb file – take that yuko shimizu!!

here is the final piece. i hope you enjoy it, i had a lot of fun doing this. i’m not sure if i will do another 30 rock piece but once the season starts i may just change my mind on that.


kind of illustration related but more music related: check out incredibox. it’s pretty fun.

a blaffair to rememblack
i’m hoping 30 rock fans will get a bit of a kick out of this illustration. this is the first of a series of illustrated posters for which (to my limited knowledge) there aren’t actually posters that have been seen on the show. although i’m not sure i can resist doing another take on who dat ninja.
i may post the process later but i will say that i decided to hand draw all the type. i hope i did the main typeface – and no i don’t know its name yet – some decent justice. and yes, i meant to put “executived” can buy a print here.

i started drawing an american bison for this bestiary of mine and started with a photo that i thought had an interesting perspective to start with. i’m trying to keep up with experiments while still working on my actual projects. so i took a gander at illustration friday’s theme and it is, weirdly enough, perspective. i’ve been wanting to try taking ball point pen drawings further as the basis for an illustration instead of using brush and ink so i thought i’d give it a go.
i realised too late in this experiment that it looks a bit barren without any real sort of background. i thought about incorporating whatever symbolic imagery that bison might have in different cultures. it seems that they’re mostly used as state symbols or in flags. so this is a flag of sorts, but the blue is supposed to suggest the sky.
if you can imagine yourself on the plain and you’re sharing opposing perspectives with this animal, your perspective might be that this is such a magnificent animal. his disposition might suggest that his perspective might be that he doesn’t like you on his land. apparently these are really dangerous animals to be around; they can outrun us and will attack if provoked. so you’re being warned as well.
not sure if i really like the result but it was worth a shot. i’ll probably give this a few more tries to decide once and for all. the original drawing is also below.

ok. i’m going to try to balance my extracurriculars with….er…extracurriculars. i miss doing stuff for myself but i don’t want to neglect the things i should be focusing on too, too much. i took a gander at illustration friday‘s topic and it got my nerd brainwaves flowing. i tried to add a restriction to keep the work for this short too, as an exercise. my thought process is below but here’s the final product.

i actually thought of two things when i brainstormed the topic: transmission/movement and fibonacci sequences. it’s interesting to me that the latter occurs in things in nature, like flowers. so i thought i would just draw a flower, pop a colour in and be done with it. exhibit a:
if.propogate original
for starters, i don’t really like how centred this is, even though it’s on the more asymetrical side. also, i have this inherent need to avoid the obvious so i started to second guess my choice of colour. i started to play with simple gradients and things and just couldn’t decide on any one colour. so i thought magenta or something wacky and then just thought about picking a colour from good old roygbiv (grade school science for the win!).
then i realised that this spectrum is in light, which propagates. taking it further, it does so sometimes a particle and sometimes as a wave. so then i thought about sound waves. this conjured up interference patterns of sound and water waves in my head, as well as a certain joy division cover.
so to go with the flowers whose petals may or may not fibonacci their way outward, the layers you see are coloured from parts of the spectrum of light. the layers are overlapped to touch on that notion of the interference patterns. to push the wave aspect, the centres of each image are arranged to appear as a sine (or cosine if it suits your fancy) wave. i like to think there is a sense of movement in all of this too, be it from left to right or vice versa or radially from any one of the centres of the roses.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene. this was fun to quickly do. i like my extra-extracurriculars.

i hadn’t checked the bad day magazine site in a while and it was kind of nice to find this video of my favourite issue (ha). my half second occurs at 1:15.

for the illustration friday theme i thought of the sweater song off weezer’s blue album, also called undone. the first thing i actually thought of was using ctrl+z or command+z but i guess i’m not inventive enough to illustrate that satisfactorily. i was also actually going to keep more to the lyrics of the weezer song and draw her bare ass and legs but this was a little more interesting to me.
have a nice christmas and new year’s everyone.

outside the bars
i’m still working out the process so i thought i’d take a shortcut and reference a photo i found online (and the purists shiver!). i think i would’ve liked a slightly more textured background but what can i say? i’m still figuring a few things out. i fiddled with this more than i intended to so i just drew the line. elliott smith, hand drawn, then coloured digitally.