Monday, November 30, 2009

Back in Action

I know, I know, you've all been wondering, pondering, where on earth did Rebecca Solow go? Well, for those of you who have been checking, with fervent hope, every single day for the last few months, pining for a post, pine no more. I have returned, with an updated website to boot!

It was a busy summer, filled with Illustration Master Class and San Diego Comic-Con fun, and then in September I went to Egypt to work for the Metropolitan Museum of Art! My good friend Scott Murphy works as their draftsperson, and they needed a second draftsperson to go with them to a dig site in Egypt. Well, I got the job, and spent a month doing technical drawings of artifacts on-site. So cool! It's not exactly creative illustration work, but it was an immensely satisfying experience. It was also incredibly humbling and an honor to be entrusted with the handling of 4,000 year old artifacts.

Now I am back in NYC, and getting back in the swing of painting and drawing. As some of you artists may know, getting back in the art-making groove can be a painful process. It feels rusty, like revving an unwilling engine for a long time - eventually it will come back to life, but it takes persistence and a willingness to be frustrated for a while. In any case, I'm getting there, so keep an eye out for new work. And in the meantime, check out my updated website, which now has the piece I did for the Illustration Master Class, a piece which won an honorable mention from Wizards of the Coast, and a few other commissioned pieces.

It's good to be back!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wine Label

I was recently commissioned to do a special edition wine label for Classic Harbor Line, a boating company that operates out of Chelsea Piers, in cooperation with Brotherhood Winery, for the quadricentennial celebration of the Hudson River. They provided me with this really helpful little sketch as an idea of what the wanted the label to look like.
I did a sketch based on their concept, making the banner more interesting, and the boat and Chrysler Building more realistic.
They came back to me with some revisions (make the boat shape more accurate, make the 'crown' stand out more - I had thought it was a sunburst, only do the lettering on the banner, and add the Hudson River...!). They were also concerned that the number 400 (which is worked into the design of the sails) wouldn't stand out enough, so I convinced them to let me make the crown yellow rather than black (like it is in their sketch and company logo).

Once the sketch was approved, I began the painting process. First, I masked out the banner with liquid frisket, and lay in a loose wash of watercolor to act as my base.
I then transferred my drawing onto the prepared paper using white chalk. I prefer using chalk to transfer because it erases easily, and dissolves if I paint over it.
The first round of outlines, and the first layer of color. For the most part, I use watercolor in the dark areas, and colored pencil for the light/middle tones.
Here I've boosted the color, and done the lettering with a crow quill pen and walnut ink.
And this is the final! It is so satisfying to add the final details and highlights which pull the piece together!

This project was all around very enjoyable. It took about a week from start to finish, the client was a pleasure to work with, and I get to see my artwork on booze!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tuesday Figure Drawing

Tuesday night drawing: not always nude, sometimes look like barbie.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday Figure Drawing

Another good night at the Society of Illustrators! One of the most challenging aspects of figure drawing (for me at least) is carrying the fresh, gestural quality of the short poses over into the long poses, where I often find myself over-working. It's important to recognize when you've rendered the heck out of something, and it's time to put the pencil down and just say 'OK, this one's done'. 
Two-minute poses:
(in a few of these, you can see the initial 'action line' that I lay in first. This is a single line that describes the overall action/direction of the body. I build my sketch around this line) 
Five-minute poses:

Ten-minute pose:

Twenty-minute pose:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Art of Watchmen

A new exhibit titled The Art of Watchmen opens at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) this Friday, which is also the opening night of Watchmen the movie. The exhibition will cover both the graphic novel and the film, from Dave Gibbons' original character designs, to stills from the film by Zack Snyder.

For those of you who just can't wait to see the film, there will be a special advance screening and VIP reception this Thursday (if you care to shell out the $100 fee).

See the website for details.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday Figure Drawing

Scott and I were at the Tuesday Society of Illustrators figure drawing session last night - as usual. The models were great, and did some really lovely poses together. While I often focus on one or the other model, these poses were too good to pass up, so I attempted to draw both women in each 20 minute pose, resulting in some unfinished (but pretty  cool) drawings.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Together Under One Roof - Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess

Exciting news! Neil Gaiman (of Coraline and Newbery award-winning The Graveyard Book fame) and Charles Vess (think Stardust, Sandman, and endless incredible sci-fi/fantasy/comic illustrations) have collaborated on a children's book titled Blueberry Girl. To celebrate the launch of this sure-to-be awesome book, Books of Wonder in NYC will be hosting a party/reading/lecture on Saturday, March 7. It starts at 1pm with a reading by Gaiman, then Vess will give a slide presentation on creating the illustrations, then there will be a chance for questions and answers, and a book signing. Take note, people - this will be worth attending!

And it's free.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Little Inspiration: Alphonse Mucha, etc.

It is always exciting to see drawings, doodles, and sketches from the artists I admire. I recently came across an article about Alphonse Mucha on Lines and Colors, and was inspired to do some more digging. Known largely for his seamless combination of painting and Art Nouveau design, Mucha's skillfully executed large-scale paintings are less known. Also rarely seen are his drawings and sketches, many of which reside in private collections, or are not typically on display. 
We all know Mucha was a fantastic draftsman, but these little designs hammer home the point. And look what the guy could do with just a pencil and some white pigment! The image above was found on the Mucha Foundation website, which has a nice little collection.
For a more extensive pool of images, check out the Art Renewal Center. In fact, check out the Art Renewal Center even if you are not interested in Mucha. There is an extensive list of artists with articles and often VERY high resolution images, which can be sorted by quality, title, date, museum, medium, etc. A pretty cool resource. I'm a fan of the Bouguereau section (which contains over 200 images!), and the Gerome section (because duh!) - I'm telling you, the high res images are incredible.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Figure Drawing Shenanigans

One of the models was a pirate. I like him a lot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I have been going to figure drawing sessions at the Society of Illustrators. This one is from this past Tuesday.

This is from last week's session. I like big butts.

My friend Linda and her evil monkey. They live in Connecticut. I may do a painting of this.