AN ILLUSTRATED ARTICLE ON INK
IN 5 PARTS, WITH A GALLERY
WORK1: First Encounters
Really!...I mean: c’mon guys! , who better to feature in a section on “Applied Ink”, than Bob Giadrosich, someone who has, as the “Strap-line” on all their DeviantART comments:
“I ink, therefore, I am!"
and: Favorite Characters: Calvin & Hobbes
Personal Quote: "Practice, practice, practice!"
(The old ones are...y'know...) And this so succinctly and with much humour sums up that very humour and intensity of this man insofar as his chosen vocation or: love? is concerned... (I mean profession...surely....? yeah, that too...hehe!). I use the word love unashamedly as the patience, dedication, attention to detail as well as the creativity and imagination displayed in his work can, necessarily, only be born from a love of his chosen metier.
I first came across Bob a while back when checking out DA ‘s iliustrations/drawings/paintings in a rare moment of relaxation when having some time to browse... I was admiring his front page and remembering a “Duffle coat” I had rendered with a rotring pen using only dots... (I believe it came to about 20,000... but what art student counts these things?...), when I noticed that Bob had a crowd funding thing going on, on “Kickstarter”. I had never used Kickstarter, either as a designer/maker, or as a patron so popped over to check it out here
. Note: On the Kickstarter site, (link to left), are two vids, the second one is a complete slideshow of his book: "One Year After"2: Serendipity
So I arrived at his Kickstarter project and was immediately entranced by his work. It so reminded me of my artistic heroes like Jim Fitzpatrick
), (Boris Vallejo
) , Roger Dean and many others, that I was immediately at home...and comfortable with this diverse range of subject-matter. I was also in the happy position of having a little spare cash... and what better, than to invest in Art and someone's future... not to mention helping in a modest way to put bread on a very worthy table... It's not always easy to stumble across something that speaks to you, with a frankness and directness like Bob's work did to me..and! the more I checked on progress, the more I wanted to invest.... I thank whatever gods there are for shoving me his way as I am now the proud owner of several of his limited edition prints, a unique one-off original, a book, and the satisfaction of having serendipitously come across an artist I believe in...and actually in the position to have been in on a really good deal! (I also now have a few excellent presents for very special people!)3: Brief Bio
Bob, very understandably is a fairly private though very sociable man. I have therefore included simply the couple of paragraphs that appeared about him on the Kickstarter site....
Between 1987 and 2002, my illustrations appeared in books, games, and magazines. Until 2009, I might have met you at one of the hundreds of Fantasy/Science-Fiction/Gaming Conventions across the U.S., or, during the 10 years I co-owned Gotland Gallery at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. I’ve published dozens of fine art limited-edition prints, cards, and a few books through Sharayah Press, and continue to display regularly at galleries and other venues. I currently live in the Seattle area.
From 2010 to 2013, I lived in Changsha, China, where, among other pursuits, I studied traditional Chinese ink painting. Between January 1st and December 31st, 2012 (my last year there), most of my time was spent at a dining room table drawing this project. 4: Influences: in Bob's words
When I was a wee lad (around 9 years old), I discovered my parents stash of Edgar Rice Burroughs books (Ace editions), which had covers by Roy G. Krenkel, Robert Abbett and some guy named Frank Frazetta. The art absolutely entranced me, and reading the adventures of John Carter, Tarzan, Carson Napier, and David Innes cemented a life-long love of Fantasy art and stories.
My biggest influence, however, came later when Barry Windsor-Smith started illustrating Marvel’s “Conan the Barbarian.” Of course, that was just the start of Barry’s carrier, and I’ve been a rabid fan of his work ever since; always in awe of the skill and fidelity he brings to his craft.
Other artistic influences would be Franklin Booth, Wang Dongli, Roger Dean, Larry Elmore, Jiang Guo Fang, Brian Froud, Catherine (Jeff) Jones, Alphonse Mucha, Maxfield Parrish, Bernie Wrightson, The Wyeths (N.C., Andrew, Jamie), and Jheng Wen Xin (plus many others!).
On a side note, I’ve been tremendously influenced by the music of Loreena McKennitt, Sa Dingding, and lately, Daiqing Tana. Traditionalists:
So glad we could do this Bob, Thank you in advance for your time... So, when did you discover that “Ink” was the one for you...?Bob:
When I was 15, a friend of mine gave me an old calligraphy set, which consisted of a pen holder with various nibs and a bottle of black ink! From that age on, I’ve been fascinated with the medium. Years later, I met a comic artist named Ken Mitcherony who convinced me to try a brush, which has been my main weapon ever since. Lately, however, I’ve been exploring using disposable tech pens.
I guess you’ve probably already got a next project... (as opposed to individual commissions etc...)?Bob:
Besides doing independent images, my main project (which will be in book form), is about the assimilation of cultures, and how a group of individuals form a unique identity as they struggle to maintain the balance between where they came from and where they ended up at. Based in fantasy, the story will be presented as an ancient artifact, exploring their conflicts, history, language, legends, social life, technology, and triumphs. The project is in the embryonic stage, so I can’t say too much about it at this time, but I expect to be working on it for a year or two…
...And, talking about years or two, how do you see your place in the future...long or short term?Bob:
When all is said and done, I just do what I do. My “style” has been in and out of vogue so often I’ve lost count! My aspirations are pretty simple, in that I want to keep exploring and pushing my craft in different directions. While in China, I studied traditional ink painting techniques, which opened up a whole new way of looking at the medium. More spontaneous and abstract, I see myself combining elements of both eastern and western aesthetics.
The image “Xiangbala” (Image of Lady in green at top of gallery, (below) ), is a small step in that direction. It is done by combining two disciplines: gongbi (meticulous brush work) and xieyi (spontaneous abstraction). The line work in this piece was all done with brush, while the background elements (water color, gouache and colored-pencil) are broken down into aesthetic shapes and groupings. I really like how the two play off each other, and will be returning to this arraignment in future work.
While I’ll always continue to push the ink (with or with out colour), I would like to get back into oil painting. I have some images in mind that I would like to render with oils. Perhaps for the new book!
That’s pretty straightforward...and is an elegantly simple expression of what will become..as it is already is, I expect?...a busy and productive future! especially with all those pesky deadlines and meetings...and putting holidays on hold...but, your personal future aside, how do you see the future of, what is traditionally a “hard copy medium” in the “digital future”?...Bob:
What's the future for "Ink" vis a vis "hard copy" exhibitions: Great question, and one that I’m not sure I know the answer to. Right now, with the proliferation of digital applications, the “look” of colour art has become more “sketchy.” Digital “inking” has become quite the rage in some circles, also.
I’m pretty much old-school in my approach, in that: everything I do is hand forged... Illustration seems to go in cycles, in that, as what is new now, becomes old, the styles of long ago become “new” again. It really becomes a question of contrast. That being said, I’ve never been one to change my approach to fit the latest “look of the day.” I feel that, in the long run:
“ keeping a consistency is more important than trying to appease an industry...”
By the same token, that aspect has a tendency to work both for and against one as one seeks to maintain a working relationship with clients and Art Directors.
I think that there will always be a place for “hard copy” art, at least in the foreseeable future. High quality reproductions and prints will always be deemed collectable, but the method of delivery could change. With the advent of digital accessibility, there are few things the artist can do to protect their intellectual property, but I feel that, if given the choice, most people would still prefer a physical, signed and numbered print that the artist has taken the time to handle and inspect for quality. The same applies to art shows, where the viewer has a chance to see originals displayed. One thing that cannot be duplicated on the internet or in a book is the sheer “wow!” factor that comes into play from seeing a large scale painting or drawing in person.
I’ve talked a little in my intro on you about your time in China, your delightful Chinese Wife, and the inspiration they have both given you... May I ask one last question if it’s not intrusive?...which is:
U.S.A. or China....or Both?... sort of “Commute or Constancy” ...as I feel sure there must be so much for you in those two incredibly different cultures that will tug at you as a person and an artist?Bob:
Both! There are many things that are unique to each country and its culture, and while I currently reside in the U.S., I’m sure that I’ll be travelling back to China many times in the future.
In a very real sense, I’ve become indisputably tied to these two very different places, as I seek a greater understanding of my years living overseas and my wife’s culture. I have a great affinity for the Chinese people, whose recent modern history (from 1700 forward to today) has been both tragic and inspiring. While I love the communal aspects that the Chinese bring to their society, I also revere the individual mind-set of the American tradition.
One area in China where I’ve been completely won over, however, is with cuisine. My wife is from Hunan province, which is right behind Sichuan province in the amount of hot peppers they include while cooking! As a result of living in Changsha for three years, I absolutely adore spicy food, and now, prefer it to American or European fare.
Well Bob, Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview in your busy schedule and I speak personally and professionally when I say it’s been a pleasure and a privilige to share some time, thoughts and ideas with you. I'm sure we all, on DA, and particularly the "tradionalists" wish you success with your future!Bob:
Thank you Peter, It was very nice of you to choose to support my work and create this article!
Not at all... you are most welcomeBob:
Bye for now.... (smiles)
BOB: DeviantART Profile Page Facebook At Epilogue Gallery DA PortfolioDA INK GROUPS: ARTISTIC INFLUENCES
FENG HUANG: WINTER (preview sketch)
FROM TRACTORS TO ROCKETS
AUTUMN IN GUANGZHOU(Inked)
WINTER IN SHERWOOD FOREST
Edgar Rice BurroughsEdgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan
Frank FrazettaFrank Frazetta Frank Frazetta
Roger DeanRoger DeanAimated Roger Dean Designs Does Design Matter with Roger Dean - Part 1 John Carter John CarterThe Wyeths
Alfons MuchaAlphonse Mucha Catherine (Jeff) Jones
Franklin BoothFranklin Booth Book and Intro Franklin Booth on wikiFranklin Booth on Lines and Colours Blog
(v.interesting site) Robert Abbett Carson Napier on ERBzine Larry Elmore Brian Froud
Jheng Wen XinJheng Wen Xin on ArtnetOfficial Site
Maxfield ParrishMaxfield Parrish at the NMAI USAMaxfield Parrish on Wiki Jiang Guo Fang on Art Oddysey's Blog Bernie WrightsonTECHNIQUES and TUITION
Care of brushes: Windsor & Newton Site
: full of useful stuff! Artists talking about their tools Comics Site ...So what is a Ruling Pen?MISCELLANYInternational Society of Pen and Ink ArtistsJim Fitzpatrick Video Interview Superbe French Bande Dessinee Site sketch ink colourEnchantment in an Ink-based AuthorArticle on Kinja following Moebius's passing
Boris VallejoBoris Vallejo Julie Bell Site Boris Vallejo on Youtube Slideshow Boris Vallejo on Facebook
BOOKS OF INTEREST
Gill - The Thames and Hudson Manual of Rendering with Pen and Ink www.amazon.co.uk/Rendering-Pen…
Smith - The Pen Ink Book www.amazon.co.uk/Pen-Ink-Book-…
Simmons - The Technical Pen www.amazon.co.uk/Technical-Pen…
MaGinnis - Pen Drawing www.amazon.co.uk/Drawing-Illus…
Nostalgia Press - The Art of Franklin Booth www.amazon.co.uk/art-Franklin-…
Reed - The Magic Pen of Joseph Clement Coll www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Pen-Jos…
Pennell - Pen drawing and Pen Draughtsmen www.amazon.co.uk/Pen-Drawing-D…
Guptill - Rendering in Pen and Ink www.amazon.co.uk/Rendering-Pen…
SOURCES FOR E-BOOK SOFTWARE
(Free - Mac)
◦Adobe Digital Editions: www.adobe.com/ap/products/digi…
(Free - Win Mac)
◦EPUBREADER plugin for FireFox: addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firef…
(Free - Win Mac)
(Free - Win Mac Linux)
(Free - Win Mac)
($10 - Mac)