Sunday, April 17, 2011

Unicorn Collaboration with Wood Sculpture Ben Lewry

This week I got to do the impossible.

Finished Unicorn Hula-hoop Holder. 
 The impossible is hiring a unicorn trainer to bring his prized white stallion unicorn to my warehouse to be the subject matter for this commission.  I have grown up with horses but being around one that has a sword coming from its forehead is amazing.

Anyways, this piece is a collaboration with Ben. His concept, my illustrious style. Unicorns have never been my favorite subject matter but I will always rise to a challenge of drawing something new, with unique quality and style.

Unicorn on the drawing board. 
It started in the sketchbook and went straight to the primed surface. The primary drawings were much more animated but having the beast in the dog park posing, changed my mind on the style. I decided to make it more realistic and regal, true to form.

The neighborhood clowns helped me with this photo. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creating silkscreened limited edition prints from a detailed drawing.

I love to make artwork to share with multiple friends and collectors. Silkscreening limited edition runs make it feasible to do so. It allows me to make many pieces that are almost duplicates but at the same time there are small nuance differences that makes them each a fine art piece.  This piece is a limited edition run of 39 called "The End of an Era." It is 18x24 printed on brown paper.
"The End of an Era."-print-final print ©Forest Stearns
The process starts with a detailed drawing. I spend a lot of time developing interesting subject matter that will add to the narrative of the illustration. Using pencil, I can erase and redraw the lines so that quality is tight and can be used as final line work when I deveop the screens to print.
"The End of an Era." drawing detail1 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail2 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail3 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail4 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail5 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail6 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail7 ©Forest Stearns

"The End of an Era." drawing detail8 ©Forest Stearns
 After spending the right amount of time with my nose to the paper, I get to develop the layers.
"The End of an Era." just color pre-line work.  ©Forest Stearns
 The piece goes to print and multiple layers are screened onto the surface to build up the colors in kind a reverse order. The final line work with I had previously drawn gets printed on last and it all comes together! Another great thing about doing editions is that the ones that get messed up become pieces that I can paint on and experiment with.
"The End of an Era." painted experiment on print  ©Forest Stearns
This piece I painted over the screened colors with acrylic and colored pencil to make the inherently flat screened surface  much more rendered and modeled.

I will put these prints available for sale in the blog store soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I drew some clouds, maybe I will paint them.

Thinking of clouds 1© Forest Stearns

Thinking of clouds 2© Forest Stearns

Thinking of clouds 3© Forest Stearns
The other day I had a sketchbook adventures while at the Association for Experiential Education winter summit. I was pushing my mind to conceive of a deep environmental space inside the drawn box. Creating atmospheric perspective is hard with ball point.  Makes me want to travel where the clouds are huge! Soon, talk of Santa Fe was on the wind today.

Drawing animals on animals with animals.

Animal totem © Forest Stearns
I think that this is what foxes dream of. What do you think?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Illustration for a Shoulder and Quarter Sleeve Dragon Tattoo

Dragon Shoulder and Quarter Sleeve Tattoo Final Line and Color, © Forest Stearns

Recently I was hired to design and illustrate a substancial sized and deeply meaningful tattoo for a gentleman from my home town area. He had read an article written about my artistic adventure in the Sierra Mountain Times over a year ago and contacted me via email wanting me to illustrate a piece for him. The timing was bad, I was in the assault of graduate school at the time and doing this job for him was out of the question. Understandable of course, I corresponded back apologizing for my lack of time and left the idea open for a further date. Over a year later, after I had graduated and was looking for new work, I found our correspondence and got back in touch. It was beautifully serendipitous, he wanted a tattoo of the subject matter that I had been exploring in my sketchbook, and I was stoked to develop his ideas.

The goal: To design a shoulder tattoo where the main focal point is a Japanese style dragon. This dragon is coming out of stylized tumultuous water and protecting three roses. All of this subject matter has specific important meaning to the client and it is my job to make it all look cohesive in design, style, and composition. A good challenge! Off I go to the practice board.
Pages and pages of Dragon Compositions, © Forest Stearns

It always starts with sketchbook mileage. Making my mind and my technique meet on the page, developing the idea into its own language of good design.  

Pages and pages of Dragon Compositions 2, © Forest Stearns
I started to do my research into many fantastical libraries and web universes to find dragon inspiration. Since He wanted a specific set of imagery I had to start thinking about the composition. Many rounds were conceived at this level. That is the beauty of a sketchbook, you can rock a dozen ideas and they can all suck in technique as long as your solving design problems and having an internal design dialog.
Pages and pages of Dragon Compositions 3, © Forest Stearns

Pages and pages of Dragon Compositions 4, © Forest Stearns
 After many sketches and studies of the idea, and a good deal of dialog with my peers about the progress I came up with a good set final concepts.

Final 4 Dragon Compositions , © Forest Stearns

 From these I chose the best elements and developed a tight version of the final line work.
Final  Dragon Composition in pencil, © Forest Stearns

The first step in this final piece is drawing it non-photo blue pencil which you can see under the black pencil lines.  It looked good in Pencil after some erasing battles and redevelopment rounds. Drawing on bristol is great at this stage because it holds up to erasing and heavy penciling without warping. 
Final line work Dragon Composition , © Forest Stearns

Over the pencil I trace the image in tight pen lines. In this case I drew the dragon and roses first, then redrew the wave motion, paying more attention to the physical shape of his shoulder. 

Final line work Dragon Composition mocked on shoulder
The drawing gets scanned into Photoshop and I present it to the client to get his approval before getting into color.

Final color work Dragon Composition , © Forest Stearns

The piece gets printed out another time in the perfect composition from its digital adventure. On heavy card stock I paint the piece in monochromatic scheme using pencil and ink. Again the image gets scanned into digital form and I make the flowers and belly scales a warm temperature red to go with his skin tone.

The final piece is presented to the client mocked up on his shoulder to show the flow and final composition. I am very happy with how the piece came out and he was excited as well. It takes a lot of work to get through what seems to be a simple process.

Final color work Dragon Composition mock , © Forest Stearns
 Every project adds on the the breadth of experience, so I do not mind pushing hard and working on the piece until it is perfect or at least successful. I love this job, it is always a challenge.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Forest gets an interview! Much respect ELROD!

 Hello my friends! This week I was interviewed after being part of a collaboration painting project that is sweeping the nation. Leanne Rodriguez is a talented and dedicated artist pushing the limits of social collaborations, Mexi-kitch and all things glitter. She has been a great friend and comrade in my graduate school experience. Always having lots to say and laugh about. I thank her for the inspiration she provides to everyone that gets to meet her. Check her work:

Leanne and Forest at her opening at Julie's Tea in Alameda, Photo: Jen Oaks


The following is from the interview on her site:


Slow Rider Sloth by ©Forest Stearns. Click for a large view.


Panel #3- Forest Stearns, Oakland CA

My Friends!

Thank you for returning and thank you to all of you who have been sharing this artistic endeavor with your friends! I've been scoping out [stalking] the facebook comments on the links and it's so cool to see what people think of this madness! Please share this with as many people as possible and always feel free to send new artists my way. I'll be recruiting new artists in a few weeks so feel free to send me as many talented people as you know! [email to]

This time around, we're checking in on Panel #3 which was back in the bay
for a few days with the prolific Mr. Forest Stearns! Pretty much, prolific is the best word to describe this artist [I'm convinced he should just go and get the word legally attached to his name since it is used so often when referring to him] but you could also throw in ingenious,
relentless, mad-skilled, always moving, always pushing... dude knows how to ge
t sh*t done. And he does it well.

Here is the newest addition to Panel #3 by Mr. Stearns! Low and Three-Toed Slow baaaaaby!:
Heeeeeeeey! How tight is that? Best part is that you can check out his blog and you can read aaaaall about his creative process for this piece here. Dang, so fresh! Let's get inside his head a little more:

Good afternoon, My name is Forest Stearns, and I am from a town in the Cali mountains called Sonora, from then on I have lived in various places and had many jobs. From Alaska to Yosemite, Pittsburgh to Humboldt, SoCal to Oakland. I am an only child that both loves and hates graffiti, gravity and poison oak. Thankfully there has always been creativity and love in my life, constant inspiration, nature, athletics, problem solving, and adventure. I have studied art empirically and academically as long as I can remember and now it is a way of life. I am a strong advocate for education, communication and accessibility. A questioner of ownership and control. A huge fan of fun. I love spending time with my girl and our team of friends. And I love my job as an illustrator in Oakland it allows me to practice my skills and push my limits every day, draweverywhere.

What is your earliest “artistic” memory?
My mother is super industrious and as a child I have endless memories of her doing calligraphy, logo design and glass engraving, my father built cabinets and I was in his shop as a tike creating things with wood and nails. Outside of the house I have another super early interesting 3/4 year old memory; of going to a small sculpture gallery in my home town where a guy had built 3D dioramas of alien encounter stories. It was amazing, I was a small kid and I can still see pieces in my mind. They were beautifully made and ultra convincing. Pretty rad to see as a young guy, I think this is why I like aliens so much now.

What are three words that best describe your artwork?
Strong, bold, adventurous

What inspires you?
Loud textured sophisticated bass-ridden organic electronic music, animals in your backyard, letter science, sunny day bike riding to the farmers market, great meals with juice and coffee, catching characters with my team, Smart worldly people willing to have tasty conversations, the hard work and never ending love of my mom and dad, Epic views from mountain tops, hearing my girl laugh, smiles of strangers, old people dancing, ninjas and friendly cats and dogs.

What is your goal in life?
To do what I love best for the people who see it as the most valuable.

Name something you love, and why.
Sushi dinners with friends because of the wasabi and the laughter and the hot tea and the chopsticks.

What makes you angry?
Racism, hate, bigotry, road rage, inconsideration, and poor design

What was your favorite toy as a kid?
frogs, snakes, legos, dirt, chalk, and my bike
What is your favorite toy now?
my sketchbook and my bike

What is your “dream” art project?
A transglobal multimedia live art music tour through festivals, preschools, town squares, city centers, space stations and universities, getting people stoked on sustainability, responsibility, communication, education, compassion, and resiliency.

What have you been listening too while you’ve been working on your art[recently]?
Amon Tobin, Aceyalone, Telefon Tel Aviv, Blackalicious Cinematic Orchestra, Beats Antique, Mimosa, Bonobo,

If you were a cocktail on a drink menu at a bar, what would your name be?
The mover and shaker, (never on the rocks)

If you could go back in time and talk to “8 year old YOU”, what would you say to her/him?
Read more, ask more questions, and Tell the people that you love that you love them.

If you could collaborate with any other artist [living or dead], who would it be and why?
I would take figure drawing with Egon Shellie and Gustav Klimpt because their work is spooky, tight and brilliant, catch tags with Twist and Dream because they care about style from the micro to the macro, build alien sculptures with Lee Bontecou because she is on some next level thinking, sketchbook session with James Jean because he is a legend of prolificness, talk god and myth with Joseph Campbell and Richard Dawkins because they understand, illustrate an album cover with Amon Tobin because he builds universes, ride my bike with Einstein because he showed up and rocked, Garden with Michael Pollan because he works with the seasons and celebrates the harvest, and grow mushrooms with Paul Stamets because he will save the planet.

What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
Build an Empire, Breathe, Practice, Enjoy, and Live Up.

If you had a chance to say one sentence for the whole world to hear, what would you say?
Go Practice!

Wow, thanks for all those wonderful words Forest! And so much love to you for getting down on the Collabo AGAIN! For some of you that don't know, El Travo Collabo began in 2009 and Forest was among the first group of artists to collaborate.

Feeling mighty inspired right about now, friends! I love to hear form someone who is so into what they do with all their heart, mind, and soul. The passion just drips from these words and I am so thrilled to share this with all of you admirers out there. Follow Forest's blog and you can be sure to see marvelous and BIG things coming from him [as if his previous projects have not already blown my mind... painting onstage with DJ Shadow and whatnot... tiiiight].

MATH-A-MILEAGE! ::Reaches for abacus:: OK, so she went from SF to SD and put down 483.38 miles and now we're adding her trip from SD to Oakland ::slides little wooden beads back and forth:: So now Panel #3 is looking at 3 artists and 982.77 miles! We have one more SoCal aritst to go, GIAN NORTE of Montebello, CA and then she arrives back to the homeland for some finishing touches a la ELROD [me!]

See ya'll next time! Peace and so much love to you all!!