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The Joy of Making Things
By Jessie Young – Jenny Yu’s masterfully crafted illustrations feature solitary figures wrapped in blankets of light and color.

Yu gravitated toward art at a young age.

She earned a BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach and was initially focused on traditional materials. She only started using digital tools during her junior year. “My friend gave me her old Bamboo tablet for free,” she says, “and that’s how it all started. I was really bad at it!”

References are important to Yu’s process. To imagine the essence of a scene, she must first understand its structure in the real world.  She’s inspired by the light and color she sees on walks around the city; her favorite photographers; and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

She chooses her subject matter according to her mood, in “slice of life-y contexts.” She’s drawn to quiet contemplation: sitting and having coffee, walking alone down the street, looking out the window. Her work often captures moments when the subject is lost in thought, unaware that anyone is paying attention. Instead of populating these spaces with crowds of bystanders, she fills the page with architectural details, angled lines of falling rain, and layered shapes created by late afternoon or early morning light.

Her favorite parts of the illustration process are to lock down the basic composition and structure and then experiment with value and color. more>

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Connecting with the Extreme
By Serena Fox – Renan Ozturk captures stories at the edge of the human condition. “I want to show humanity on the fringes,” says the photographer and documentary filmmaker. “Whether that’s high in the mountains or isolated on the edge of the earth, these cultures need their voices amplified in some way.”

A world-class climber, Ozturk is best known for his work as the director of photography and high-altitude director on the award-winning documentary Sherpa—which explores the Sherpa people’s cultural connection to Mount Everest—and for the Sundance Audience Award–winning Meru, which recounts the near-death accidents and transcendent beauty of Ozturk’s attempts, with climbers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin, to climb the most-tried-and-failed peak in the Himalaya range.

In addition to being a prolific documentary filmmaker, Ozturk is a photojournalist for National Geographic and Sony, an expedition climber for The North Face, a co-owner of the production company Camp4 Collective, and a commercial director for clients including Apple, Nike, Yeti, ESPN, and NBC. On top of all that, he’s also a talented landscape painter.

Driven to show our connection to the natural world, the soft-spoken Ozturk faces extreme challenges: physical, cultural, and technological. He dangles thousands of feet in the air while shooting, hauls gear through the planet’s most extreme environments, flies ultra-light experimental aircraft to capture aerial shots, pilots drones during technical ascents of the earth’s most challenging peaks, and spends months slowly getting to know the people who live in the world’s most remote locations. more>

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The Art of the Unnatural
By Brendan Seibel – When he was a kid, Jason DeMarte enjoyed visiting natural history museums to see the dioramas filled with taxidermy wildlife and carefully positioned plants.

As an adult, he determined that those scenes are intended more to capture the imagination than to document reality. And while the diorama designers’ motives may be pure, there is a darker side.

DeMarte saw a correlation between the museums’ “perfect, pristine snippets of nature” and product photography of the sort he’d done for Toys ’R’ Us to pay the bills while earning an MFA in photography. That experience of creating flawless images of merchandise exemplified photography’s role in cultivating consumer desire for false perfection through manipulation and good lighting.

“I started thinking about nature in a different way, as a commodity, as a way of packaging, promoting, and selling a commodifiable object,” DeMarte says.

The disconnect between manufactured perceptions of nature and the imperfect reality has been DeMarte’s artistic focus ever since. His work is a commentary on the artifice underpinning our concept of the world, as well as our constant desire for something “better.” more>

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Kiwie Bubble Gum Collection
By Charles Purdy – In a recent post on Behance, Kiwie, whose graffiti artwork is well known on the streets of Riga, Latvia, where he makes his home, explained why and how he created the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection—a project that involved Adobe After Effects CC, Illustrator CC, and a fair bit of spray paint

The idea for the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection arose from Kiwie’s need to create new stickers. Wanting a fresh concept for the stickers, he remembered that the bubblegum brands of his youth used to come with collectible pictures folded inside the packaging—so what if he used that gum packaging shape as a way to deliver his stickers?

Then he realized that “Kiwie” and “Turbo” have the same number of letters. He says, “That was the point when the chain reaction started, where the first concept seed was created by simply connecting two dots: new Kiwie stickers and Turbo Bubble Gum. The same day I found on eBay, and ordered, five original Turbo Bubble Gums. I had to see them in my hands.” more>

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Behind the Scenes of the Spider-Verse
By Terri Stone – Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s critically acclaimed Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t a movie about a comic book; it is a comic book.

Justin K. Thompson was a natural choice for the film’s production designer (the person responsible for translating the director’s vision into what the audience sees onscreen). “I learned to draw by looking at comic books and emulating them,” he says. “My first job was in a comic book store—not for money, because I was too young. They paid me in comics.”

As a life-long comics fan and an artist, Thompson can easily identify key elements of comics. “They have the screen tones and misprints and offsets, and they’re printed with CMYK. There is a texture to them. You really feel the artist’s hand. I thought, ‘We have to bring all of that into our animated film.’”

“We got rid of things like blur that are typical in an animated film and in film in general,” he adds. “Comic books don’t have any blur. You just flip a panel. We knew it would be a real challenge to make a film without blur—we had to figure out new ways to animate.”

Bob Persichetti was a director on the film. “We spent almost two years developing the look and the way our characters move,” he says. “It was a struggle to make it work because we broke the animation pipeline. In computer animation, there’s an image every single frame, and there are 24 frames in a second. We stripped out half of those images to make the movements feel crisper. And because we took out every idea of a motion blur, everything’s crunchy and sharp—it helps make the images pop off the screen.”

Once the core team members had developed a unique visual language, it took hundreds of artists to apply the language to every frame of the film. Custom brushes for Adobe Photoshop CC helped keep things cohesive. more>

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Minimal Lines, Maximum Impact
By Terri Stone – Monika Kehrer, our design director and a brilliant illustrator herself, is the force that holds everything together in the studio while I (Adam Goldberg) go off and design animals, plants, and weird shit.

We debated putting this stuff out there because of the possible confusion it might cause for potential clients and the creative community. Does it take away from our branding focus? We don’t think so. At the end of the day, creativity and art are part of our branding DNA, so we decided to not to shy away from it.

Although the illustration rarely shows up in our branding work so far, look closely and you can see the geometric, minimalist, mid-century, pattern work and constructivist threads that run through most everything we design. We like to call it “Messy Modernism.” more>

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Nothing Good Comes Easy: Documenting ‘Project Antarctica’
By Scott Kirkwood – When the three twenty-something Germans set out to film a documentary about a journey to Antarctica, one goal was to share a message with young viewers—a message they wish they’d heard earlier in life: When you’re preparing to launch your career, don’t be so obsessed with your grades and so fixated on your resume that you miss out on truly meaningful experiences. But anyone can say that—as visual storytellers, they wanted to show people that no dream is out of reach, even if it’s a pricey month-long excursion to a frozen continent 10,000 miles away.

The result is their new documentary film, Projekt Antarktis (Project Antarctica).

“For us, Antarctica was a great symbol for something that’s almost impossible,” says Müller-Zitzke. “You’ve got the crazy temperatures, the unpredictable weather, and the difficulty of going through the Drake Passage—one of the stormiest seas in the world. It was such a great challenge for us, and a great way for us to motivate our audience to go for their own dreams instead of just staying at home and being afraid.”

The trio spent a year planning logistics, cobbling together cameras and equipment from Sony, and arranging sponsorships (including sponsorships from Adobe Germany and Adobe Stock—in exchange for those sponsorships, they produced photographs that have been made available on Adobe Stock and created German-language tutorials on using Adobe Photoshop CC, Photoshop Lightroom CC, and Premiere Pro CC. more>

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5 & 3/4 QUESTIONS
By Enisaurus – I’m Enisaurus, a professional freelance illustrator from the sunny land of Valencia, Spain.

My works are usually based on geometry. There, between simple shapes and bright colors, is where I feel most comfortable. I’m always pushing myself to try new ways to communicate ideas and thoughts through my illustrations, constantly seeking ways of being a better storyteller and professional.

When I’m not at the climbing gym, I’m usually working on private commissions for clients from around the world, like BMW, Movistar, the Henry Ford Museum, TED, Bespoke Post, and Cabify, to name just a few. And between climbing and private commissions are my beloved side projects—what would I do without them! This is the time that I use for experimentation purposes and just for having fun; they are excellent exercises that help me develop my illustration skills and allow me to to step out of my comfort zone.

It’s the only way to avoid the dreadful feeling of being creatively stuck. more>

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Bringing the Quirk to Corporate Work
By Charles Purdy – Michael Lomon is a motion graphics designer, comic book artist, and illustrator—he’s also clearly a time-management wizard: in addition to holding down a full-time job creating motion graphics for QVC UK, he takes on freelance commissions, develops personal projects, and co-parents two young children.

Currently based in London, Lomon grew up in Manchester, England, where he discovered animation during his studies at art school. Earlier on, he’d come to drawing through a love of comics—he cites Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series as an early influence. “That was quite a big deal for me,” he says. “Growing up, I was passionate about sport, but I wasn’t good in any way. The Sandman, and then the whole world of alternative ’80s comics—Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer…getting into those is what really got me drawing. And I have carried on ever since.”

By the time he was 17, he knew he’d be making a life as an artist, and a stop-motion experiment at university got him interested in animation. At first he was just using Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro for editing, but after a friend got a job doing motion graphics, he was motivated to dive deeper. more>

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All the Colors of Beauty
By Brendan Seibel – Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate, her white dress billowing around her hips—it’s an iconic Hollywood image. That immortal scene from The Seven Year Itch has inspired countless tributes and parodies over the years.

Artist Tya Alisa Anthony was researching the history of Black media when she came across an old Jet magazine cover featuring Donna Summer re-creating Monroe’s peek-a-boo pose.

Anthony’s parents had collected the weekly digest when she was a child, but re-examining back issues revealed a disconnect between the magazine’s eye-catching covers and its articles on Black agency and pride.

“These women were not being recognized or respected as Black women,” says Anthony. “They were representing European ideals, highlighted with stories like ‘Are Black Women Getting More Attractive?’ or ‘Stripper to Singer.’

It didn’t settle right with me, attempting to connect to the women on the covers.”

The portrait series Complexion is Anthony’s response. more>

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