Monday, May 28, 2012

Rise of an ARTIST and batman too.

This blog is a squeal to "Batman taught me to read", so go read that one for some more background on this one : click here

         We last left off with me explaining that after discovering comic books I found that they were not only easier to read for me but actually improved my reading skills.  Sometime during the 4th grade my teacher in the special classes started noticing that even though I had little skill in reading, my mathematic skills where above average.  It was eventually decided that I would be divided between special classes and normal classes for math. At the time I was told by my teacher I was the only student ever to have this happen, which made me feel a little special but a lot more terrified. 

         On the one hand I was slowly climbing the academic ladder and getting into better and better classes for more subjects. On the other hand I was always wondering "for what and why does any of this really matter", I eventually got my answer.

         All the while this was going on, in fact ever since kindergarten, I would always be drawing.  Art was a unique world for me, it just came so easily and yet was more challenging than anything I had done before.  Even though I could draw for hours and was considered good even as a child, I knew I could improve. I loved the journey I was on, and as it turned out, it was never ending one.

draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw draw.

         When I finally realized that - yes all the art you see everyday in life people get paid to make it and it doesn't just appear. I knew I wanted be one of those artists.  I set a goal. Here in Philadelphia there is a high school called CAPA, the school for the Creative and Performing Arts and I wanted to attend.  If I could get accepted into that CAPA it would be official that I was a real artist. 

         There were two things standing in my way:
1.  I needed to improve my art skills to be more like the professional pieces. (even now I'm still working on this)
2.  I needed to get out of the special classes once and for all. ( because at the time I was told CAPA didn't teach for special kids, which I later found out wasn't true)

       Eventually I got the option to leave special classes once and for all and I took it. It was a hard choice, but I went for it. Over the next few I took the same classes as every other student and continued working on my art. When it came time to go to high school, I was accepted into CAPA. It was one of the happiest days of my life and it made me even more confident in my art. Thanks for listening to this part of my artistic journey, I'm thankful that I can communicate it to you. Also Batman.

Until next time! 

Edited my : Mia Rose Cammisa

Friday, May 25, 2012

Batman taught me to read

This week I thought I would talk a little about my early education, and how I overcame my learning disabilities.

         When I was a child I loved super heroes, monsters, and tales of fantasy. I lived in a world of make believe, and to some extent I still do. I had a ritual of Saturday morning cartoons back then, waking up to the stories of spider-man, batman, the turtles, power rangers and X-men. Things seemed perfect at that time.


         Around the same time my parents were called in to talk to my teacher about holding me back a year. When they asked why they were told I couldn’t read. After a mountain of tests I was finally diagnosed with dyslexia. 

         What’s funny is that for years no one knew because I’d always get A’s and B’s on tests, even one’s that were heavily centered on reading because I would memorize the way the words looked they forget it. Even though that got me through by first couple of years in school the teachers couldn’t help but notice that I still knew nothing about reading and writing.

Dyslexia is hard to explain

         So in the end of all the talking and the test I had to leave the horrors of my Catholic school and go to public school where they had classes for "special" people like me.

Things went on normally for while, except for the giggles and funny looks a kid gets for being placed in the special classes, but I was slowly but surely learning tricks to read. I was learning, but the progress was very slow. I still couldn't get through reading a book without getting a migraine, that is until I discovered comics. Around that time I became friends with a neighbor who loved cartoon heroes as much as me. He also read and owned the comics those heroes began in. After a while he trusted me enough to let me borrow those comics of his to read.

I noticed reading comics came easier for me. I was able to read through issue after issue with out much difficulty. My mind was opened to a whole new world of stories. After a while I noticed an improvement in my normal readings and writings for class, and things would only improve over time...
Until next time! 

To be continued!

Edited my : Mia Rose Cammisa

Monday, May 21, 2012

A home for Sketches

     I have recently added a "sketches" tab to my tabs bar.   For about a week now I have been using one of my other accounts, on Tumblr, to post a sketch each day.  I plan to keep the same schedule of a sketch a day for the week, so 5 sketches a week will be posted on that  Tumblr.   

     I wanted to create a place to keep a record of every single sketch I do, a digital sketch book of sorts. Once I heard another artist "an artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them that they have to get out", so good or bad I want to show them all.  I hope through this I can see an increase in my work, and by making sketching a part of a routine incourage myself to draw everyday. 

Until next time! 

Edited by: Mia Rose Cammisa

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hey Jack !!!

        I was looking through a folder filled with scans of pieces I made while I was still attending Uarts, my college, and came across this image. The image itself isn't too great, and wasn't a very complex to make, but I liked the story of its creation.   

Jack of Hearts 

          While in my studio a friend of mine came in and asked if I wanted to help her with a project she was working on. Turns out she was going around and asking art teachers and students if they would help her create a unique deck of cards with a different artists doing an image for each card. I got jack of hearts and this was my contribution to her.

         The reason I liked this so much was I would have my work next to that of some of the teachers I admired on a final product. It was the first time I had a sense of being equal to the professionals that taught me. Sadly I never got to see the finished product and the women never kept in touch but it was a nice idea while it lasted and who knows, she might see this remember me and contact me over this.

    Hope you enjoyed this little story and that you might even get something from it.
Until next time!

Edited by: Mia Rose Cammisa

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ice Dragon's Lair

A while back I showed a preview to an image I was working on : click here to see

     While working on this piece, well, any piece really, I have a lot to consider. So I think that it would be nice to share the thought process I go through when I create an image.
     First is the idea stage. Since this was a personal piece and not for a client the concept for this image was "I want to draw a dragon,"  plain and simple. That was the starting point, however after some thought I didn't just want to draw a dragon flying through the sky raining down fire, instead I wanted to make a cave dwelling dragon protecting his treasure.  Dragons and treasure are just a classic combo and a perfect encounter for a unsuspecting group of heroes.

A peek into the treasure room 
       Next is the most important step, the sketch and concept phase.  This step is where I give my idea form and in doing so am able to define the concept and improve upon it.  So I get out my pencils, pens, and tracing paper an will spend hours working.  This where  80% of the work gets done. I spend more time working on sketching then I do once I have it loaded into Photoshop. You can  think of it like a building, the stronger the underline structure, the better the building will stand.  For this image the heroes and the ice dragon took the most work.

      For the heroes I wanted to resemble a typical D&D team, with a variety of races and classes gathered together ready to face a common threat.  The placement of the heroes as well as the heroes themselves went through the most changes before I was happy with them.  First I had a lot of trouble picking out the classes of characters to use in this. I always knew I was going to have a wizard and an archer, but the others where more of a challenge.  

The Five Heroes ready for action

     I tried having more brute characters like a Paladin and a Monk, but it just looked silly having a man in a robe punching a creature 20x its size in the leg.  In the end I think I came up with a team able to take on a dragon.

 The other major change was making this a "before the battle starts" scene so I could have the characters strike epic poses. This also allowed me to show off the main star, The Ice Dragon !!! 

     The dragon, while being a much more important element, was the easiest to do because I had a clear idea of what I wanted him to look like.  I wanted his scales replaced with more of a crystal or ice shards to push the ice look, and once the heroes where decided, his pose came very naturally. Using his tail, he manages to surround the heroes while being a single foe. He prowls, cool headed, with a smile instead of a roar. I have always considered ice a much cooler (no pun intended) element. It calls to mind calmness and silent intelligence. I wanted my ice dragon to capture that.  
  The main element that I changed with the dragon was in his color.

One would assume a "Ice Dragon" would be a shade of blue, and early on in the concept phase he was blue, but having him against his ice lair, he just didn't pop the way I wanted him to. So I decided to play with him and change him to red, and hoping I could still have him fit into the character. I did that through his ice horns and protrusions.  I think in the end it worked just fine and I got the effect I wanted for the overall image.             

Finish image for "Ice Dragon's Lair"

     Those where some of the phases and issues that I had to deal with while making my ice dragon and how I take a simple idea like "I want to make a dragon" and turn it into a finish piece of art work.  In all it went pretty smoothly, and I hope you enjoyed hearing more about what steps I take in my process. Until next time!

Edited by: Mia Rose Cammisa

Monday, May 14, 2012

To A very special woman

      Yesterday was Mother's Day, a day to celebrate all those women in our life that helped shape us into who we become.  I, being a starving artist, decided to put my skills to use and make her a card.


Friday, May 11, 2012

A little Fishy

   Happy Little Fish, swimming through the water.  Going with the tides and being all cool.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Exaggerated Portrait # 12 : Mike

How Mike lost his smile

      Mike always had the nicest smile and always made sure to let every body know about it. Absolutely every one he came across he had to flash his award winning smile and brag about all 32 of his pearly white teeth. Granted his smile was worth bragging about until one day when he bit into the wrong kind of fruit.

     Needless to say it can get annoying and nobody thought so more than Mike's own grandmother, Stella, who lost her own teeth long ago.  After a while Stella devised a plan to shut Mike up once and for all.  Mike had a daily routine to keep his pearly whites pearly, after brushing Mike would eat an apple.  Knowing this Stella took his apples and placed them in the freezer so when he Mike went for a bite it'd be like biting into a rock. Once she heard the crying from the kitchen she knew that her plan had worked and she'd never have to hear Mike's bragging again.

Edited by: Mia Rose Cammisa

Friday, May 4, 2012

A trip to New York to see the Engine

      Yesterday I got to take a trip to New York with friend, and fellow artist, Mike Burns. The reason for the trip was to see the gallery opening for "The Monster Engine", check out more on it here

Examples from the monster engine project.

       "The Monster Engine" is the creation of artist Dave Devries. It all started with the question of what would a child's drawing look like when painted realistically. The engine has been around for years and I have loved it since I first heard about it, so it was a great opportunity to see this amazing work in person.

The front and back of the card given out at the show.

     The gallery will be up from May 3, to May 30, 2012 at the Sacred Gallery, located 424 Broadway 2nd floor (between Canal and Howard) New York, NY 10013.    

     A great topping of the evening was meeting Dave Devries himself. I was able to get his autograph and then have him pose for a picture with me and Mike.

In Order from left to right: Mike, Dave, and yours truly. 

       Our trip didn't only consist of seeing the gallery, it was a all day event. We got there early enough so we could walk around the whole city and fine some cool and interesting spots. Some note worthy places we went were The Evolution Store located in SoHo, a fascinating place where you can fine science and nature collectibles like fossils and bugs. It’s pretty much like the coolest science class you could dream of.

        Another place that speaks more to the nerd in me was the comic store Forbidden Planet. The biggest comic store I have seen to date, simply put, they had EVERYTHING, definitely going to check it out again, next time I go to New York. 

        We also were able to find the Comedy Cellar, a place known for all the amazing comedians that have preformed there. Mainly Mike and I were excited since it’s featured in the opening of the show Louis, and comedian Louis C.K. still performs there. 

Me in front of the Comedy Cellar. Sadly we couldn't actually go there this time .

      I had a great trip to New York that really gave me a boost. I got a lot of ideas from the trip and talking with Dave at his show was a real reminder to keep going and never slow down.

 Edited by: Mia Rose Cammisa