Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cut paper pattern collage: How I spent my lunch break

The other day at school a student who had finished her work asked if she could make a snow flake. Normally I would have said no because it was so close to the end of the period and things like this tend to get messy, but I let it go. It was Halloween but she wants snow flakes, who can argue with that? Another reason you say no to these things is that as soon as one person starts making snow flakes everyone wants to make snow flakes. Not that I blame them, making snow flakes are fun. When class was over and everyone had gone it was my lunch break. I sat down and indulged in creating my own snow flake. It had been a long time since I worked with cut paper and as soon as that door was open I couldn't put down the scissors. These images were created one after the other, with the results then glued down onto contrasting paper. I was having so much fun It was hard to stop. No templates were involved this was just folding, cutting paper and enjoying the surprise.





Good day,
James

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Published: Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers!

Hey very exciting, I finally received the finished copy of the book I worked on with educator/writer Jeffrey Pflaum. "Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers And Parents Can Lead The Way". It is a beautiful book, the published illustrations look wonderful and the cover is impeccable! My hats off to Jeff, Kristina, and the designers who worked on this, It was an amazing experience, and I am very grateful to have been apart of it!





Here are a few of my interior illustrations (click on the drawings for a larger image):











You can purchase the book at amazon and read through it here:

Amazon HardCover

For the Kindle:


I feel very proud of the work I did on this, I hope you dig it!

James

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Book Cover: Motivating teen and preteen readers! Also: SNOOKI!

I just received word that the book I worked on with Jeffrey Pflaum has gone to print. Here is the final book jacket! Hey teens go out and buy this thing! It is fully illustrated!


Jersey Shore fans take note, here is my preliminary sketch of SNOOKI (ball point pen).

I am going to start color on this baby soon. I am hoping to handle this with colored pencil and acrylic paint.

C'mon y'all someone dance with SNOOKI, don't leave a girl hangin'! Who can hate on this?




Everybody good?
James!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Portraits: Fat Captain America, Alice Cooper, Tori Spelling & Ernest Borgnine

I think one of the hardest aspects of being an artist is maintaining confidence. Sometimes people will say things about your art that discourages you. They may not even mean it to but some part of their comment/gesture/attitude will chip away at you. I remember an incident like this in college at SVA. I was presenting some of my work to the class and spoke about my interest in portraits. I am certain that no one meant to give me the impression that they thought it was a bad idea but there was an overall feeling that I walked away with: disinterest. Obviously I blame no one but myself for letting this effect me the way it did but it is something I have come back to again and again as an artist. You can't let anyone's opinions overshadow your own. Very often you will not get the reaction you want from a piece and I am always shocked at how difficult it is to put these doubts behind you. It has taken me years to get my art to where it is today and I am very happy with my progress but I cannot even count how many times I've lost confidence along the way.

I often imagine George Lucas telling someone about star wars and being openly mocked. Imagine if he let that stop him! Never depend on anyone elses vision but your own. Most people have no imagination, they can't believe it until they see it.

Recently I was forced to put art (and my social life) on the side as I went back to school for a degree in art education (somewhere I am very happy to be, there are no regrets in this regard). Having lost so much drawing time I could feel my abilities waning, It was subtle but I could feel it. I kept myself in the game by doodling incessantly in my sketchbook. Now as the school year approaches an end I find myself with spare time again. Last week I sat staring at piece of paper (on a weekday with a rare day off) and wondered what I should draw. A simple concept but it was daunting, after all this time where do I start? I tried a portrait but felt frustrated. I spent hours on it and put it aside. Then I recalled an idea I had, it could be as old as high school. It was a simple parody, It was Captain America only FATTER. I can't say it is the greatest thing in the world but it served it's purpose. I lost myself in that drawing, I had fun it made me laugh. The stakes were low and consequently I became unstuck. I guess one of the nicest things about losing confidence is how easy it can be to get it back (even though realizing that is the most difficult task of them all). After Fat Captain, I've been on a portrait kick. I'm not rushing myself, I'm just letting it happen and waiting to see where it takes me. I have specific goals I have not yet attained but I'm having a blast all the same.

Here is FAT CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Captain America,James jajac

Alice Cooper drawing. He is looking slightly wall eyed. Drawn with ball point pen.
james jajac,alice cooper

Alice Cooper finish. I am experimenting with digital coloring. I f___ing love these dot screens (color half tone in your photoshop filters). I plan on trying a new finish with traditional materials, colored pencils? Paints? Maybe both. That said I am pretty happy with this version.
james jajac,alice cooper

Tori Spelling. Why draw Tori Spelling you ask? Well, it was my lunch break, there was a newspaper, and that is pretty much it. Then again I am drawn to plastic people like her. I am not sure how I will finish this yet but I hope to post it when it is done. Please excuse her slightly off eyes.
tori spelling,james jajac

Last but certainly not least. Ernest F____ing Borgnine!! This was drawn with pencil, and colored pencil. A new technique for me, usually I do all of my drawing with ball point pen. Not perfect but I love it.
Ernest Borgnine,James Jajac

The title of the Borgnine piece is: "Ernest Borgnine has baked you a basket of cookies and he wants to watch you eat them".

If you are needing some confidence in drawing yourself here is a great column in the NYTimes by my ex-drawing teacher James McMullan. Jim McMullan Drawing Lessons! You won't regret it!

Happy Summer!
-James

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let the chidren read!

Here is a book cover I've been working on. It is a teaching guide for teachers and parents up against preteens and teens not motivated to read on their own. I had the silly idea to use a book on the horizon in the vein of the monolith (Space Odyssey 2001) drawing them all toward it. Not to equate teenagers with apes, but just play on the power, mystery, and symbolism of the object.

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Here is the original 2 minute clip from 2001:

Jumping Monkeys





This is my first blog posting in months! Feedback is welcome!
-James

The Elemental Delegatates of Artistic Science