Thursday, February 28, 2013

Orrin Porter Rockwell

Fishing For Pukes- Graphite, digital by Greg Newbold
Orrin Porter Rockwell was among the most colorful characters in early Mormon history. Rockwell never fit the mold of other straight laced church goers right down to his beard and hair. He never cut it after LDS prophet Joseph Smith delivered a Samson-like exhortation that if he did not cut it, "neither bullet nor blade" would take his life. Later he did donate his hair to make a wig for a woman who had lost her hair to typhoid fever. He also gained the nickname "The Destroying Angel" as well as a reputation for being quick on the trigger after being acquitted of attempted murder. This illustration depicts a time when Porter was held in a Missouri prison for nine months without being charged. To amuse himself and the children outside the cell window, he would dangle some of his food, which consisted of barely edible lumps of cornbread called "corn dodgers", out the window. When asked what he was doing, he told the children he was "fishing for pukes" which was the unflattering nickname many from Illinois bestowed on Missourians at the time. This entertained the youngsters who would bring him more food since the state was not legally responsible to feed it's prisoners (go figure). Rockwell became a lawman in the Utah territory and he was either loved or hated depending upon which side of the law you happened to fall. This is another illustration for an BYU magazine article.

More on Porter Rockwell in this book

Adjusting the Color

Martha Hughes Cannon- Graphite, digital by Greg Newbold

Samuel P. Cowley- Graphite, digital by Greg Newbold

J. Golden Kimball- Graphite, digital by Greg Newbold
After a little contemplation, I decided that the background color on these portraits was competing a little too much with the skin tones. I adjusted the color by dropping the saturation and shifting the hue slightly on all three. I like them better and thing that this subtle shift lets the faces command more attention. Sometimes I think I have the tendency (as I am sure a lot of artists do) to overdo the color saturation when what is really needed is a more subdued touch. In this case, I think this shift makes for better images. Plus, I sort of like the feeling I get of hand tinted photos (scratches and all) which was really the goal all along.

See the previous versions here

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Portrait Drawings Finished

Martha Hughes Cannon- by Greg Newbold
graphite and digital
Samuel P. Cowley
J. Golden Kimball
I showed the drawings for these spot art pieces earlier so I thought I'd show how they turned out. I had the option of just leaving these as black and white art, but decided to add some limited color and texture. I think they turned out pretty well and should fit in well with the other color pierces in this series. I'm still considering whether to desaturate the backgrounds behind the heads a little. These were all rendered in Photoshop.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rough Trail

Jane Manning James was a Mormon Pioneer and also one of the first black members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As part of the article I am illustrating for BYU Magazine, I am illustrating little known stories from the lives of church members. The story is told of how Jane travelled several hundred miles of the journey with inadequate footwear. In an autobiographical sketch she wrote,
“We walked until our shoes were worn out, and our feet became sore and cracked open and bled until you could see the whole print of our feet with blood on the ground. We stopped and united in prayer to the Lord, we asked God the Eternal Father to heal our feet and our prayers were answered and our feet were healed forthwith.”
For this illustration I wanted to portray the hardship but also inject hope. The sage sparrow represents the Bible verse which teaches that not a sparrow shall fall without our Father knowing. (Matthew 10:29). Hopefully I struck the right balance of strength and faith here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Congrats to My Students!

Haute Route by - Kelsey Datwyler
See How They Run - by Nathan Hardyman
I was pleased to learn last week that two of my students at BYU had work accepted into the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition. The instructor credits listed for Nathan's piece are incorrect in case you were wondering and in the process of being fixed (gotta ta all the credit you deserve, right?). Nathan and Kelsey join six other BYU students with works accepted (11 pieces total). Most of these students I have also taught or am currently teaching this semester. Way to go guys! Well done and well deserved!

See Nathan's Piece on the SI site
See Kelsey's Piece on the SI site

Friday, February 15, 2013

Portrait Drawings

Samuel P. Cowley- Graphite 4" x 5"  by Greg Newbold
Martha Hughes Cannon- Graphite 4" x 5"  by Greg Newbold
J. Golden Kimball- Graphite 4" x 5" by Greg Newbold
These drawings are part of a project I am doing for BYU Magazine. I'll show progress of the other illustrations as they progress. I will be bringing in some limited color to these and add some texture in Photoshop as well, but I like the organic quality of the drawings and will try to preserve it as I move along.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

East of Midway- SOLD

East of Midway- 6" x 8"- oil by Greg Newbold
Just sold the last of the paintings that I had included in this previous post. East of Midway was done on location about 45 minutes up the canyon near the little town of Midway. It was one of those fun little 6" x 8" efforts that seemed to come together smoothly. I always liked it and now I am glad that it has a home. I still get a little melancholy about letting paintings go that have been hanging around the studio for a while, but I figure I will just keep painting more. That's why I paint anyway isn't it?

Here is the post I did about painting this on location 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wendell Berry Painting Progress

Wendell Berry- On His Farm- 18" x 30" oil, by Greg Newbold
I am almost finished now with the Wendell Berry painting for which I showed the sketch a couple of weeks back. The wide shot is a little cropped, so there is actually a bit more on each side. It felt like a bit of a challenge creating a younger portrait of someone I have never met.
Face detail
The fact that Wendell is still living and will undoubtedly see the painting, made it a bit intimidating as well. I hope I did him justice. I think I captured his sturdy, no nonsense but good natured personality. Just a but more and I'll be ready to call this one done.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

SOLD! Mouth of Parley's Canyon

Mouth of Parley's Canyon- oil by Greg Newbold
Just got a check yesterday for my Mouth of Parley's Canyon painting. I gave a little peek into the creation of it here. It was painted on location and then touched up a bit in studio before sending it out the door. Check it out if you missed it. See other paintings I currently have hanging at Williams Fine Art here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To SI or not to SI?

That is the question that Kim Kincaid posed as a followup to my last post: 
Do you recommend sending your work to these shows? Is it worth the expense
The short answer is yes and yes. Juried shows such as those sponsored by the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Spectrum and 3x3 are long running showcases of the best art the illustration industry has to offer. They are tough to get into because they are very competitive and only what was deemed the best gets in, so acceptance really means something. From the beginning of my career, I have entered these types of shows and I can credit early acceptance in CA and the Society shows for jump starting my career. It seems that every time I get in one of these shows, I get at least one project that I would not have otherwise landed. People look to these annuals every year to see what is good of at least what the hot trends are. Lets take a look at the pros and cons of entering these types of juried shows.


  1. Exposure. Your work gets seen by thousands of people who may otherwise not have noticed your work. Art buyers, creative directors and designers across the country wait every year for these annuals. If you get in, your work will be seen, and in a way that is impossible to get by any other method.
  2. Credibility. Your work is grouped with the best art produced in that particular year. Your piece will be seen adjacent to some of the most respected artists in the industry, therefore, by association, YOU are one of the most respected artists in the industry. It doesn't matter if you have been a professional for 2 years or 20, your work was good enough to get in and that carries with it weight and respect.
  3. Validation. Let's be honest, No matter that most of us would do art even if we never won anything, it feels good when others recognize your work for the quality it displays. When we win awards such as these, we can't help but feel vindicated and that in turn motivates us to push even further to improve even more.
  4. Cheap Advertising. This is a Catch 22 since if you don't get your work in, you can feel like you wasted your money. But, if you DO get in, these annuals offer the cheapest exposure you can get. Full page spreads in a publication such as Communication Arts can cost thousands of dollars if you bought it yourself, but acceptance in an annual show can give you the same coverage for pennies on the dollar.
  1. Expensive To Enter. Justifying the expense seems to be the biggest deterrent to entering juried competitions and I admit that I feel it every time I enter. It can feel like you are metaphorically flushing your money down the drain when you shell out $35- or so per entry. Compound that price by several or even a dozen entries and the price starts to feel painful. I look at the entry fees as the price of doing business in the industry. I treat it as an advertising expense. I am paying for the chance to be seen in one of the annuals. There is no guarantee of getting in though, so I could be kissing that cash goodbye (which has happened plenty of times in the past).
  2. Too Much Trouble to Enter: There are always deadlines and sometimes the entry process seems complicated. I have felt this and even avoided entering certain competitions from time to time because of this. The good news is, many of the most popular competitions have switched to online entry processes which makes entering far more simple than in the past. Gone are the days when you had to have a tear sheet of your work (or have your work photographed and printed) and then fill out all the forms by hand, package the pieces and FedEx them across the country because you procrastinated the deadline and couldn't send them by snail mail. Now you upload your JPEG into the proper category and even pay online. Spectrum is the lone holdout to online entry (come on guys!) but I suspect it will only be a matter of time there.
  3. Hard to Get Accepted. Very true. Most of these shows attract four to six thousand of entries and only accept a two or three hundred pieces. That is roughly a two percent chance of getting your work into any given show. These odds seem steep because they are. That said, I don't think that should be a deterrent to entry. If you think you are good enough, you should enter. You will never know for sure unless you do.
I may be a little biased because I have had pretty good success of the years getting into these shows. I have been accepted into Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts and Spectrum multiple times and had my work in several other juried shows as well, so it is easy for me to tell you it's worth it. That said, here is my advice to anyone considering whether or not to enter a juried show.

The only guarantee I have is that if you don't enter, you won't get in.

Be smart about what you enter and which shows you target. Your style may be much better suited to one show rather than another. For instance, I can't remember the last time I entered American Illustration. My style just is not edgy and dark enough for me to feel like I have a reasonable shot at getting in that publication. If you do anything remotely fantasy oriented, then Spectrum is for you and so on. Budget money every year just for entries so that you don't feel like you are spending money you don't have. I figure if I have a few hundred bucks I can dedicate to getting show exposure, then it is much easier to justify the fees when they roll around. Only enter your very best work. The scatter gun approach doesn't really work here. It's too expensive to just throw out everything and see what sticks. Just go with what your gut tells you is your best. If that is three pieces, then enter three. I entered one piece in Spectrum the first year I got in. Don't get discouraged when you don't get in. It's hard to not take it personally when you thought you entered some good stuff, but that is how it goes. Juries are subjective and what didn't get in one show might get in another or get in the same show another year. Just keep doing your best work and entering your best pieces. The cream always rises to the top. I am still looking for that elusive medal, but I have to be pleased that getting in the shows is a significant accomplishment. Someday maybe. That is why I keep entering.

Hope that answers your question Kim! If anyone else has a different opinion or something else to add, please comment!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Illustration 55 Opening By Proxy

Grasshopper Hunter - nicely placed! Thanks Scott Anderson
Friday Night was the opening of the Society of Illustrators show, Illustrators 55- Part Two. The show is too large (or the building not large enough) to house the entire show at once so they split the advertising and editorial from the book and institutional categories. My Grasshopper Hunter for Boys' Life magazine was accepted into  he show. Alas, as in past years, it was not realistic to make the road trip to New York, so I was happily surprised to get a few shouts out (and photos) from friends who were there.
Thanks to Dale Stephanos for this shot of my piece on the wall
I was also stoked to see the prominent center placement of my piece on the right hand wall of the main museum gallery. Thanks to my friends Dale Stephanos, Scott Anderson and Jodie Hein for the shouts out from the opening that night. You guys rock! Hopefully I will make it there next time.