Interview with Chris Griffin

16 09 2008

It is time to introduce you to the fantastic, super talented and amazingly humble Chris Griffin. Cris seems to be the one with the right worlds around the net, the one who is always measured and in a good mood. Her incredible talent does not interfere with a humble character, and it makes for incredible pieces. Let’s see what she has to say!

This is a question that you might get a lot. Did you go to art school? How did you get that good?
~Well, ‘get that good’ is up to debate, but yeah, I went to lots of art school. I earned my BA in liberal arts, specializing in the fine art, then an MFA in painting. I came out of the womb with creative inclinations, and just ran with it from there. I don’t think you HAVE to go to school to learn art, but it helps. It keeps you from taking shortcuts. You have to be very self-motivating and willing to take advice if you choose to teach yourself, just like any other ‘skill’.

I’ve seen you drawing for a couple of years, when do you think you got to the point to which to felt “ah, yeah, this is where I wanted to be”?
~Pft, I’m not there yet. If you EVER get to the point you want to be, art is dead to you. The creative arts are constantly evolving; you never completely learn them. And if you feel you have, you’re lying to yourself.

You are terrific in skintones, how do you do it? can you share some tips?
~Well, paint what you love! I love flesh. Tips? It’s not peach. Shadows aren’t dark peach, and highlights aren’t light peach. Don’t just add black, and think you’ll get shadows, nor add white to assume you’ll get nice highlights. Skin ‘;pops’ when you add non-local colors: green, blue, orange, etc. And dark flesh is more reflective than light; exaggerate your contrasts! I could go on and on and on, but I’ll spare you…

You have “no stealing”comic phrases in each piece. Have you been victim of art theft?
~Oh, here and there. I have one piece that gets ripped continually (my red-haired pirate lass named ‘Leonie’.) Only once or twice has someone stolen my stuff, in order to sell it, and their ISP provider responded quickly and thoroughly with a complete take-down. I google for my stuff pretty regularly, and as long as I’m credited and no one’s making money from me, I’m pretty lenient. It’s the internet; you’d be chasing bloggers non-stop if you got your panties in a twist about every illicit posting.

Your gallery has traditional and digital pieces, more digital now. Putting aside the mess, which one do you rather in a finished piece, and why?
~Oh, traditional, hands down! I woefully miss not having that tangible, visceral art to touch, and watch as the sun plays across the surface and changes the colors. There’s nothing like it. BUT…I’ve learned immeasurably from my digital painting. You have every color at your fingertips, and can test-drive all sorts of techniques and palettes. I love both media, and I’m so out of practice at this point. But there WILL come a day I’ll resume the traditional arts. I simply must.

Your artwork is full of fascinaitng characters, most of them far from the prancing cutesy faery. What attracts you to the dark folks?
~I’ve always been a creepy kid. I discovered Steven King in 5th grade, and instantly fell in love with the macabre. Though in terms of ‘darkness’, I’m really pretty tame. I find those subtle oddities most interesting: the housewive with strange golden eyes, or the vampire who cries bloody tears over the monster he has become. I don’t like to hit folks over the head with “FEAR ME! I AM GOTH!” (No insult to Goths out there; love your black hearts! 😉 )

How do you achieve that sexy yet elegant mix in your characters?
~Dumb luck, really. I’m not sexy and elegant in my real life, so maybe it’s living vicariously through my imagery. (I’m not looking for pity here! But I’m a tomboyish mother of three sons who is distinctly pear-shaped. Just keepin’ it real. Yo.)

Lovely Entrie for Exotique by Cris Griffin

What influences and inspires your work?
~Color and music. And the human face. I love portraits, and find every face beautiful in its own way. Color combinations will jolt me into painting, and if I don’t feel like working, I’ll slap on some tunes and instantly, I’m in the zone. I do very little fanart…that just doesn’t motivate me. I’d rather put my own spin on the world, as we wish it were.

How did you get into the games illustration industry?
~I love seeing my work published, but I don’t think I’m of the caliber that Magic, The Gathering requires. There are, however, a great many fun collectable card games out there that are right up my alley. I simply took a chance, and sent samples to the company’s art director. Just about every gaming company has hints on their site as to how to apply for freelancing work. Be professional, succinct, and only show them your best stuff, tailored to their subject matter and style. Seems self-explanatory, huh? It’s really that easy. You just gotta dare.

You are a stay home mom of 3 boys. Does art help you to keep sanity? How do you pull off to take care of the house, the kids, and the commissions?
~I’m not as good at juggling all those tasks as I wish I was. The family always comes first, and I struggle to keep up with my clients. This year, I’ve turned down a great many projects, in order to work only with my favorite people/companies. And I hope to find time to pursue my own personal visions. Sanity isn’t an issue, but professionalism is. I’ve learned that really, to make a solid name for yourself in the fantasy art industry, you can do little else, but art. It’s more than a full-time job, considering all the self-promotion and marketing and web design it requires. Saying ‘no’, and asking for more money, are the two hardest things for me.

Do you have any exciting project in view that you can tell us about?
~I’m working on illustrating an rpg through Ellen Million Graphics, am designing a pirate riding a scooter for a company in Florida (zoom, arrrr, zoom!), will be featured in Ballistics’s Exotique 4, still producing cards for the wonderful Fantasy Flight Games, and HOPEFULLY, I’ll start some traditional, large-scale drawings any day now. Add that to the novel that’s bouncing around in my noggin, unwritten, and there’ll be a hot time in the ol’ town tonight!

I’ve seen you in action in several art communities, you always seem to step in and have wise words, keeping a great mood, and many times you achieve to tone down arguments where other people have failed. How do you how do you keep the good mood and find the right words to say?

~I’m the eldest of four kids, and the mother of three. You get very practiced at diluting tense situations. I always employ a few key clichés: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, “Humor cools the blood”, and “It takes a strong man to grab the bull by the horns, but an even stronger man to know when to let go.” I never try to ‘right fight’; I don’t care who wins or loses an argument. I just want everyone to learn from each other, and be wise enough to admit when they’re wrong. If you can’t admit you’re wrong, you’ve stopped learning. It’s that simple. And regarding the good mood? NEVER respond to a heated discussion when you’re PMSing. Go eat ice cream instead.

THE END!

Cris by Mercuralis
Cris is wonderful. She’s the artist I want to be in a few years, always willing to learn, to grow. She’s an incredibly hard worker (who needs a vacation!), and I’m proud to call her my friend. Also, she totally digs the hot guy art thing, too. 😉

Cris by Ellen Million
Cris is a beautiful soul with an amazing sense of color and design. She is always a joy to work with – energetic and enthusiastic, with a wonderful generosity of spirit and willingness to help new artists.

Cris by Debie
She was a wonderful person to work with. We were both so busy in our lives so the commission took longer than normal, but we kept in touch and didn’t hound each other and got along just beautifully. We still keep in touch here and there. For me it was a very easy process. I was not afraid to tell her to change something and give her ideas and she was very open to them and also to make suggestions. I hope this helps. She is a wonderful person and a fantastic artist and I will probably commission another piece from her when I can!

Cris by Michelle Lee
Cris is the epitomy of superwoman. She juggles home, career, and still feels inspired to create gorgeous art. She is imaginative and intelligent and her art reflects that.





Portrait Adoption: Girl in Burgundy skirt

9 09 2008

I am now a proud member of Ellen Million’s Portrait adoption. Ellen is a wonderful person and terrific entrepreneur who has built this great business in which actually the artists are very well taken care of (making her a great anomaly).

My first portrait is up for adoption and she hopes that she finds a loving a caring home 🙂


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Soy ahora un miembro orgulloso de la empresa de Ellen Million Portrait adoption. Ellen es una persona maravillosa y excelente empresaria que ha construido un gran negocio en el que los artistas son en realidad muy cuidados (lo que la hace una anomalía).

Mi primer retrato está pendiente para ser adoptado, y está deseando un hogar amoroso que se la lleve
🙂





Moved!

6 09 2008

Hey there! I have moved here. This will be my blog from now on. The other will stay up just for people that was watching me (maybe the whole 3? :P) to find their way here, and because I did not want to loose all the interesting comments I already had there. I transfered all the old articles to this new blog. Please, come by, have some fun reading and let me know of your thoughts.


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Hola! Me mudé a estos pagos. Desde ahora este va a ser mi blog. El otro va a permanecer en linea
para que la gente que me estaba siguiendo (todos los… tres? :P) encuentren su camino hasta acá, y porque no quería perder los comentarios interesantes que habían dejado. Transferí todos los artículos a este nuevo blog. Por favor, pasen, diviértanse leyendo, y compartan conmigo sus ideas.





Comissions: Time Warp Vortex

6 09 2008

I am about to be finished with the Races of Arqueth project. It has been a wonderful thing to work on and I had a lot of fun drawing medieval costumes
from different races.
Now I am working for another RPG, this one a table top RPG, which will be also a lot of fun, mainly because I will be illustrating a lot of different races, including feline people, dwarfs, goblins and what nots. My first image included a female warrior puma anthro specifying how she want her sword from a dwarf blacksmith. Pretty cool, eh?

Also, in the Naked guy in jewelry department, Louisa has created this cutie
Cris is still working on hers, Melissa scrapped hers, and I have been collecting references of gorgeous naked men, a hard job, but someone’s got to do it, right?

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Estoy a punto de terminar las comisiones para las Razas de Arquet. Ha sido un trabajo muy gratificante y me he divertido muchísimo diseñando trajes medievales de diferentes culturas.
Ahora estoy trabajando con otro RPG, este es de mesa, y también va a ser muy entretenido ya que tengo que ilustrar diferentes razas, incluyendo gente felina, enanos, goblins y demases.
Mi primera imagen fue de una mujer puma guerrera explicando cómo quiere su espada a un enano herrero. Ta bueno, no?

En el departamento de tipo desnudo con joyas, Louisa ha creado este bombón
Cris todavia está trabajando en el suyo, y Melissa tiró a la basura el que estaba haciendo. Yo he estado recolectando referencias de hombres desnudos hermosos, es un trabajo difícil, pero alguien tiene que hacerlo, verdad?





Popularity Contests

6 09 2008

How many times have we noticed that a certain artist is o-so-famous and we cannot tell why? But, “Oh, the Jones spent so much money in this painting, we have to get one like them!” even when there is nothing really remarkable about that artwork but the fact that it is valued in a few thousand and it was done by a popular artist.
Through the times we’ve seen it over and again. The fact that a certain artist is completely ignored until he hits the popularity threshold and then BAM! everybody is after him. Fair or not, it has been always a matter of the right publicity in the right moment. I might like it or not, but it is life.

Now, what gets to me is when peers become art snobs. When other artists become art snobs. I see the praise and praise and more praise to an artist that might be good, but it is not thaaat impressive as others. When a certain artist is starting to paint something and there is only a streak on the canvas and all the other artists scream like Kawaii fangirls “OOOhhhh! That is going to be SO good!!!” even when there is not much there in the canvas. Honestly, look at it, it is just a blotch of paint on a colored canvas.
How did we, the artists, the ones that are supposed to have a critical eye, become this? How did it turn out that we cannot put or sympathy aside, and our like or dislike for the person, and analize the art itself? Why? Why cannot keep ourselves outside of the popularity contest, and be what we are supposed to be, critical people. Art is what we do, art is what we are supposed to know really good, so why would we become this bunch of groupies screaming at the feet of an artist idol, maybe for a glance of them?

When things are kept within the artistic circle, contest supposed to be about the quality of the final piece should not be about the popular ones. It should be kept ethical, it should be kept professional. Is it that hard? Apparently it is.


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Cuántas veces hemos notado que cierto artista goza de increíble atención y no sabemos por qué? Pero… Fulano compró este cuadro tan caro! Tenemos que comprar uno igual!!! Aunque no haya nada en especial acerca del arte, pero el hecho es que está valuado en unos cuantos miles, y fue hecho por un artista famoso.
Lo hemos visto una y otra vez. El caso de que un artista es completamente ignorado hasta que BAM! encuentra la popularidad y luego todo el mundo lo quiere. Justo o no, es y será así, es una cuestión de la publicidad adecuada en el momento adecuado. Me guste o no, es la vida.

Ahora, lo que me molesta es cuando los pares se convierten en snobs del arte. Cuando otro artista es el snob. A veces vemos que un artista recibe loas, y loas, y loas, y podrá ser bueno, pero no es taaaaan bueno comparado con otros. Cuando un artista empieza a pintar y solamente hay un rayón en el lienzo y los otros gritan como nenitas fanáticas “AAAAHHHHH!! esto va a ser excepcional!!!” aún cuando lo único que hay es una mancha sobre un fondo de color.
Cómo fue que nosotros, los artistas, lo que se supone que tenemos que tener un ojo crítico, nos volvimos esto? Cómo ocurrió que no podemos poner de lado nuestras simpatías o antipatías hacia la persona, y analizar el arte mismo? Por qué? Por qué no podemos mantenernos fuera de los concursos de popularidad tan comunes en este tiempo, y ser lo que se supone que somos, críticos de arte. Arte es lo que hacemos, arte es lo que se supone que conocemos muy bien, entonces, por qué nos volvemos un grupete de groupies gritando a los pies del artista por una mirada de atención?

Cuando las cosas se mantienen dentro del círculo artístico, los concursos que deben ser acerca de la calidad de la pieza producida no deberían tratarse de popularidad. Deberían mantnerse éticos, deberían mantenerse profesionales. Es tan difícil? Aparentemente sí.





The Kiss

6 09 2008


There was this fun event at Pixelbrush in which we were supposed to recreate a masterpiece. My choice was the Kiss, by Auguste Rodin, one of my most favourite sculptures of all times.
I have finally finished it. It is by no means perfect, I know that. I am completely aware of all the flaws that it has, but I am content with it. I have pushed my limits beyond of what I thought I could and I have created the most complicated piece that I’ve ever tried to make. It was a constant struggle, but very enjoyable none the less. I put a lot of hours into it (maybe too many) and hated it for moments, but I’ve learned a great deal. For example, that you should work back to front, even in digital art.
I have not scored high in the contest. I was not hoping to, to tell the truth. There were some other incredible pieces to compete against. But that is not what I enter these competitions for. I just want to learn, I want to push myself to be a better artist, and what a better environment than being surrounded by superior artists?

Two pieces that I absolutely loved were “The Bather of Valpion” by Rita, who has improved her digital art overnight with this piece and who had undeservingly few votes, and Melissa’s gorgeous “Burning Bright” that makes me drool over those rich deep colors.

Now is time to move on. There is only so much that I like to correct a piece without starting to hate it, and this one has had enough attention. Now I need to go finish my commissions and start thinking of naked guy in jewelry 🙂

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En Pixelbrush tuvimos un evento muy divertido en el que tuvimos que recrear una obra maestra. Mi opción fue El Beso, de Auguste Rodin, una de mis esculturas favoritas de todos los tiempos.
Finalmente la terminé. De ningún modo es una obra perfecta, y lo sé. Soy perfectamente conciente de los errores que tiene, pero estoy contenta. Me empujé más allá de mis límites, más allá de lo que pensé que podía dar, y el resultado es la obra más compleja que haya intentado de hacer. Fue una lucha constante, pero muy disfrutada. Puse muchas horas (quizás demasiadas) en ella, la odié por momentos, pero he aprendido mucho. Por ejemplo, que siempre es mejor trabajar de atrás para adelante, aún en formato digital.

No tuve un buen resultado en el concurso. No lo esperaba en primer lugar, siendo sincera. Hubo otros trabajos increíbles contra los cuales competir. Pero ese no es el motivo por el cual participo en estos eventos. Solamente quiero aprender, superarme, ser una mejor artista, y no hay mejor ambiente que estando rodeada de artistas superiores.

Dos trabajos que me encantaron fueron “The Bather of Valpion” por Rita, quien demostró que creció como artista digital de la noche a la mañana, y que tuvo muy pocos votos, si bien mereció mucho más. El otro es el de Melissa “Burning Bright” que me hace babear por esos colores profundos.

Ahora es tiempo de continuar. Solamente puedo corregir una pieza por tanto tiempo antes de empezar a odiarla, y esta ya se ha llevado suficiente de mi atención. Ahora voy a ir a terminar las comisiones que tengo pendientes, y a pensar en el tipo desnudo y con joyas 🙂





Tin Eye: Image search engine

6 09 2008

Yesterday talking to Melissa she commented on this new tool that will be of great use for artists, which is an image search engine. This service is provided by TinEye and it is still in beta version, and so far free. The great use of it is that it can help us artists to track down art theft, since we can upload or link an image and Tin Eye will run a search to try to find the image, even if it has been modified.
The other great thing is that it will be useful for people that want to use art to conduct a search of the images, helping with the so controversial “reasonable search” that is stated in the Orphan Works Bill. So far there was no way of conducting such a reasonable search.

Tin Eye is still in the works, they make clear that they are searching a small portion of the web, but they will grow. If you are an artist and are concerned about your artwork being stolen, just run a search, you’ll be impressed.


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Ayer, mientras hablaba con Melissa, me comentó que hay una nueva herramienta que es de mucha utilidad para los artistas, un buscador de imágenes. El servicio es provisto por TinEye y está aún en versión beta, y por ahora es gratis. Lo bueno de este servicio es que puede ayudarnos a los artistas a encontrar nuestras obras robadas, ya que podemos subir imágenes o proveer un vínculo a una imagen y Tin Eye conduce una búsqueda para encontrar esa imagen, aún si ha sido modificada.
El otro uso es que puede ser de utilidad para la gente que quiere usar arte encontrado, para buscar las imágenes, ayudando con la controversial búsqueda razonable que se menciona en la Propuesta de Obras Huérfanas (que causó gran revuelo a principio de año en los Estados Unidos). Hasta ahora no había forma de realizar esta búsqueda razonable.

Tin Eye está todavía en construcción, son muy claros acerca de abarcar una pequeña porción de la red, pero van a crecer. Si sos un artista y estás preocupado por ver si alguien ha robado tu arte, hacé una búsqueda, vas a sorprenderte.