Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Brief History of...

When I began this blog, one of my truest intentions was to do interviews with people. I wasn't sure how to go about making that happen so I reached out to some friends and artists I looked upto in music to see if they'd enjoy being interviewed by someone. A few said 'yes' and thus I was off on my journey.
 I wanted my interviews to be different though. With a thousand sites vying to grab attention and traffic by interviewing musical artists, I was pretty sure another blog with 'normal' interviews would just bore people. I also felt the artist likely would feel less excited if the interviews were filled with questions they'd been asked a million times. I decided that, if I wanted this to work, I'd have to forget what I'd read in other interviews and really go about it the one way I was certain would make it completely different: I'd ask only the questions I really cared about getting answers for.
  I know, sounds simple enough and, 'duh,' why wouldn't I ask questions I want answers too. But by doing that, I easily changed what 'Conducting Thoughts' would be. So I started asking about their life outside of music, their hobbies, odd questions that I wanted to know which I was pretty sure few would. It just felt right to do, asking questions that often had very little to do with the overall point of why one would interview an artist who is putting out music. I wanted it to FEEL like I was interested in the PERSON and less the 'artist.' And sometimes I succeded at that...other times, not so much.

Unfortunately, things fizzled out as artists I'd approach would email back really short answers or not respond for months. It had a nice flow when I began but more and more it was becoming a 'once-in-a-while' sort of deal. And I don't think people deserved that from the site. Plus, I was passionate for sparking thoughts. I always have been. I enjoy honest and open communication with people, especially those with a thoughts worth hearing; things spoken with some substance.

So, I just started posting my own thoughts, usually things I'd personally been contemplating for very long periods of time. At first it was sketchy, my thoughts sometimes larger and disjointed from what I'd call a 'good read.' I'm an illustrator first and foremost so writing for a viewership is a totally different gear I have to be in. Sometimes I wasn't there, even if the thought was one I wanted to share.

It didn't turn into an art blog until my social network sites made uploading content a bit more difficult to do. I draw a decent amount of the time and love for people to be able to see stuff. The frustration mounted as those changes went down and it took forever to get stuff uploaded and ready to be seen so, figuring that I HAD put up art of the people I'd interviewed, I started to share stuff on here. Sure, occasionally I would try to shoehorn it into connecting with my 'thoughts' on here but, often or not, my art doesn't always link up with the stuff I'm heavily considering and contemplating.

I guess...haha, why am I going on about all this? Well, I want to continue to share art and thoughts with you few who look upon this page...BUT I also have a hankering to interview some people. Before it had just been music artists but I want to speak with as wide a range of people as I know (and that's an eclectic bunch, lemme tell you!)

So, whilst I seek those out and try to find time to draw up non-work images (while also trying to garner paying work) I ask that you just bare with me. I'm sure we all feel the pressures of the times and realize that it isn't the easiest moment in history to spend hours being creative but, as always, I'll try my best to keep this as a place you'll want to stop by...for one reason or another.

- Conduct Lionhardt

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recent stuff! Yay!

Let's take a look at some new (or...well, MORE recent) art, huh? Sh'yeah!!

A commission piece I'm working on of actor, Idris Elba. I'm actually a huge fan of his...well everything. Ha, ha. His BBC show, "Luther," may possibly be one of my favorite shows. EVER. So, this was neat to work on. I actually broke out some new pencils on this one. Loving how they "feel" on the Bristol. There's a few things I'm going change when I finalize it and there's some background to add but, yeah, should end up being pretty good...hopefully. Ha.

So, here's a portrait of two students I know and the thing that really made me want to do this for them was the expressions here. Something that a lot of art doesn't do for me is have pure expressions. These faces...look at them. Its so funny how an image can tell you so much about someone and if you got to know these two, you'd surely see that this is a great intro into their character. That said...the pencil looks so light in this scanned image. Not too happy with that and maybe I should snap a shot and so it looks more like the page. (Nitpicky) Anyways, I like some of the detail work in the shading. They liked it too. Hope you do as well.

I do some warm-up sketches. Or, should I say, "sketches." Ha, ha. I usually do them in ink and often, differently styles. I haven't really landed on a technique I feel comfortable with yet. Anyways, this was a suggestion I got from a friend on facebook to draw the Wildstorm Comics character, Warblade, and somehow incorporate Pittsburgh into the image. For whatever reason, I thought it would be great to have the character in some construction clothes eating a classic Pittsburgh staple, a Primanti Bros sandwich. My fav part of the image is the crumbs from his mouth dribbling out and the fabric. Oh, I also dig the crumbs coming off his blade fingers. (YES, I get the joke that he looks very Edward Scissorhand-y. I didn't design the character.)

More to come soon. I'm a busy boy of late and I have a scanner to prove it.

- Conduct Lionhardt


Hey my half dozen readers. Sorry for the long delay on posts. As I've stressed before, life sure knows how to gum up the works for this machine. When push comes to shove, I end up having to give the good 'ole blog the last of my focus.

Anways, I wanted to share an interesting fact about my art. A lot of people (haha) have heard me making statements about it where, I likely come off as too hard on myself or self-depreciating.
The fact of the matter is, yes, I do think a good deal of my work is lacking but, its not a thing where I'm being a "perfectionist," always having problems with every little detail. (Okay, honestly, I CAN be that guy too but...) I'm also not knocking my talent for a lack of much professional use. (That fact is debatable. I'm sure some of the people who "know" me would say it could be true. People feel that seeing everything in bright lights and being mentioned all over the place, defines professional. ya know, hardwork and many projects aside...)

No, my real problem with my work is a knowledge that I CAN do better. I just have an issue with most of what I do being work done under various pressures.

I'm not gonna waste time here talking about deadlines and life obligations and what those do to work quality, though. Seems like too much of a cop-out or excuse, right? No, what I'm gonna share, though, is that there's a clarity of skill that's apparent in the projects I do that get worked on when I have the least amount of "pressures." (Please note the plural.)

Deadlines are a given in a variety of fields and if you can't learn to hone your craft to meet them, I'd suggest something else as a line of work. But I'm sure every professional out there, will tell you that a large part of being a great worker and someone who can own the term, comes when you can grasp and learn to manage the juggling act of life. Things outside of work, schedule and time always will have some effect (large or small) on your approach. When I'm taking care of it the best, you see it in my stuff...and when I'm NOT, you see it too.

When I can seep into my work, when the art and I become one and the focus is set on the goal, you see some of the better design, layout, and visual crafting than you would when my mind is split focused.

So, what's my point? Well, to be honest, and I'm pretty sure many can agree, its not easily the best time to be a freelance...anything. Things are tight, extra non-what you prefer doing work is often required, and the cool stuff (or fun or, ultimately, creative stuff) ends up getting less focus on. That's sort of the nature of how things are at the moment. But. One must learn to perservere and push forward. You have to grow and progress and learn to handle the pressures that you run across in this life. And that's not only professionally speaking. You have to develope those skills outside of career too. Things aren't just going to bestow you with perfection (or your definition of.)

I'm learning and honing that in my life. In my career. And, for you few who are checking out my blog and, eventually, my website, you get to SEE me grow into being a man whom Pressures don't effect the quality of my skill...and my life.

- Conduct Lionhardt