Friday, December 24, 2010

Mr Obama, Mr. Obama.

Last night, my boredom drove me to upload a picture of me into Adobe Photoshop to aid me in the exaggerations of my caricatures. By using the smear tool, I started dragging attributes of my face to increase or decrease them in size. I thought this would help me get a better idea of how to exaggerate without losing likeness, but it didn't work out so well. Somehow I started thinking about the artist Shepard Fairey and his iconic artwork entitled " The Barack Obama Hope Poster". I thought that it would be funny to create the same poster, in the same style but of The Pope. It sucks that I just decided this two years late because someone had already created it as you can see here. This wasn't surprising though.

Instead, I found the original image that Fairey used to create The Obama Hope Poster and I tried to create my propaganda using it also. I used Fairey's image to retrieve the color palette he used, but I did not reference his photo for my work. I wanted to see what I could come up just by finding similar colors within the face, pointing and clicking the mouse (yeah.. no tablet) on different tones with the correct color, and filling each accordingly. I started using the gradient tool by filling in all the midtones, shades, and highlights with the four color palette needed to render a similar image. After pathing all the different colored shapes with the pen tool, (magic wand is for sissies), I cleaned the edges with the gradient and the brush tools by selecting and inverting specific areas.

After I finished this long process,I had to figure out what else could rhyme with the slogan HOPE that would be funny or witty like the Pope idea. I came up with "SOAP." I know, I know.. It's no Pope, but someone had already used "DOPE" ,on President Bush, and there aren't many words that rhyme with hope. Most of them have already been used: NOPE, MOPE, POPE.. but not SOAP..or COPE to my surprise. I went with soap first. For some reason, the only word that was synonymous with the word soap to me, at the time, was Mr. Clean. I decided to change Obama into Mr. Clean. I changed his eye brows white, removed his hair line to indicate that he was completely bald like the beloved spokes person, but I still couldn't tell who he was. I needed to bring in the BIG guns... literally!

My Obama wasn't Mr. Clean. I thought to myself, what makes Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean? His arms!!! His earring!! I inserted a picture I downloaded of the real Mr. Clean. I removed his arm from the photo and implanted it onto Obama. At this point, I returned to my mundane process of pointing and clicking on different tones to create areas of color that unify the composition and the values we see on Obama's face. I cleaned the edges of the arm, positioned it on my Obama, and proceeded to write the word "SOAP" at the bottom. To finish it off, I used the marquee tool to create his earring and pathed out a highlight it look round.

After reviewing the OBEY artist's Obama, I realized that my method is very close to the process that Fairey used to create this image. We almost created the same color layers in the same exact sections. Well I'm sure you have seen his Obama a million times everywhere. You might find mine in my bathroom, cleaning the toilet.. 'Mr. Obama, Mr. Obama!'

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

I haven't been working much since Thanksgiving due to this crappy economy and how slow my job has becomes in the off season, but I've kept busy. As you can imagine, I was pretty psyched to work yesterday and today though. Well guess what? Thanks to the rain, I didn't do either. I was itching to draw some caricatures this week so I decided hook up a few while I was stuck in the house.

My buddy Taylor Smith, who is an excellent artist and designer, has drawn me and my girlfriend several times. My favorite being this digital image from last year when Natalie and I both had hair:

(We're not bald but we did get cuts) Anyway, he's so awesome! I decided to return the favor and draw him from a picture I had on my phone from last year. I hope you look the same Mr. Smith.. Mr. Smith just gave me an idea. I am totally drawing you as Agent Smith from the Matrix next time.

I also did a caricature of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow which I actually didn't finish yet. I just wanted to post it before I ruined it with the crappy necks I draw.. Or maybe I'll do a whole body because it's been a while since I've done one of those.

This last one is of me. I tried to destroy my face which caricature artists I've met out here in San Diego like to call "beasting." I'm not very good at this yet but it's starting to come along. It's weird that the more I draw someone, the more I can beast them.. I guess I draw myself a lot.

It's definitely not something I can do in the park because I like money more than funny, but it does happen from time to time. Some people's faces seem like they were made for caricatures and it would be a crime to draw them otherwise. Other than those people, it's hard to beast when you only draw little kids all day; where parents expect a cute-iture. The place I work doesn't serve alcohol, and to top it all off, eighty percent of the caricatures we draw there are "Legoheads." It's a lot more fun to beast adults because their features are usually more pronounced than children's attributes. More importantly adults understand what a caricature is and propbably won't cry if it isn't an exact representation of them. Either way, these guys got it made! Plus they are REALLY awesome at beasting so they deserve the cameo.

I just finished this one for Natalie's parents. The likeness is there but I'm not a big fan of it for some reason. I think it's the hair. Maybe I'll redo it and replace this one later.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Final!! I'm Making an Infomercial.

I can see it now. A cheesy infomerical with some no named loud mouth preaching about how awesome your animal's caricature could be. "Do you want your pet drawn!? Here at D.Lyons Art, we specialize in drawing dogicatures and dogtraits but we're positive that Dan can do a drawing of your best friend no matter what he or she is! Do you own a fox, rabbit, or Bearded Dragon!? Well no problem at all!!! We can draw them all!!!"

That was a joke for the humor-impaired but seriously.. I really never would have thought that drawing one holiday card with dogs on it would get me so much attention and so many more animal commissions., but it did. And here's another one.

I'd like to introduce everyone to my friend Sandy. Sandy.. this is the WWW. Jaret must have seen my infomercial because he wanted to get one done of this sweet little gal as soon as Medeski stepped off stage. Holy crap, I sound crazy right now.. And what is holy crap? Was it blessed?.. Apparently it's this. Here's Sandy though.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet Medeski

A friend of mine, who also received The Moskowitz Family Holiday Card, wanted me to draw his dog Medeski as a caricature. I did my usual thang and started with a very quick drawing of the pouch, and as usual, it turned out to be more of a doggie portrait. I decided to take this guy a little further for the final drawing because Josh told me that he wanted caricature, so a caricature is what he'll get. After the outline, I was sceptical of the final result and wondered if I would be wasting my time. It looked pretty strange and my girlfriend Natalie seemed to agree. She asked me to color in the eyes and that's when I took a picture of it. I had nothing better to do, so I pushed on and came up with the picture of Medeski below.

The background planning took a long time just because I really liked the way Medeski turned out and I didn't want to ruin it with a flat monochromatic background like I did wit the practice sketch. I wanted the dog to be pushed off the paper just like his snout, so I decided to make it funky. This design should compliment the super bright green walls where Josh has chosen to hang it. I just hope he likes it enough to do so.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Moskowitz Holiday Card

The Moskowitz Holiday Card I've been hearing about came in the mail today! I didn't really think they were going to use the image I made for them, but they did and it looks pretty awesome! The drawing you see here is from my previous post entitled "Random Everything," and the wonderful card design was created by the pros at Sign Masters Inc. My friend Josh received one of these cards and sent me a message about it yesterday. He praised the picture and is now interested in having his dog Medeski drawn so you'll probably see that pretty soon. :)

And thank you to Mike and Roxanne for being such nice, wonderful people. You guys really are the best!

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trick Worked

Posting that last blog really did get my butt in gear because I actually worked on it last night. Awesome! Drawing too big for the frame you just purchased today in the rain.. Not awesome! Redrawing it this afternoon wasn't so bad though since I have drawn each dog three times already and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was actually so excited to finish that I framed it before I took pictures of my work.. Well silly me, being super lazy this time of year, I decided to take pictures of the drawing still in the frame, with the acetate plastic wrap covering and all. I had to take the pictures at an angle to remove some of the glare but bing, boom, bing! I got five minutes of my life back!

Anyway, Marea told me that her parents would probably want a black mat because it would go best with their home, but I figured this wasn't the type of 'year round art' for their picture perfect house anyway. I decided to make it seasonal by adding Santa hats, candy canes, and a red mat. It's not the most interesting drawing, but if they were your dogs (and you couldn't draw) you'd love it.. unless you're Jewish and than it would just be okay.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Pups

My friend Marea saw my blog of three dogs below and decided that she was going to give her parents a drawing of their two poodles as present for Christmas this year. She called me a week ago to inform me of her plans so I've been playing with ideas in my head but nothings in stone. All I know is that this is going to be interesting because the two dogs are Standard Poodles and look identical. The only difference is one is all white and the other is all black.

I originally wanted to draw Moe (white) on black paper with a markette and white pencil and Archie (black) on white paper with a markette and black pencil, but I rather draw them on one piece of paper so thats out. I could draw the two dogs exactly the same, looking at each other but mirrored, which would convey the idea that each dog is the negative of the other but I'm not sure how alike or different they really are. I wish I knew how to create an x-ray image that could be lite up from underneath but I don't. I guess I could draw a contour line drawing of the dogs and print it on transparency paper but that wouldn't be the same. Maybe I could go comic book style and draw a frontal pose of one of the dogs split down the middle, like Harvey Dent from Batman, and color each half accordingly. I don't know people! Maybe I'll just have to wait and see what pictures she sends me and take it from there.

The pictures are in! These are what I received and what I came up with. As you can see, it is nothing close to what I brianstormed. I did a quick sketch of each dog and dusted them with color to get an general idea of how the finished product would look. After coloring them, I realized that I didn't draw them very cartoon and caricature-like so I decided to push it further. Nothing is final yet, as you can see by the plethora of pencil markings on cheap sketch paper, but I do like the direction I am going. I am planning on finishing this commission later today so I can finally publish this ongoing draft tonight and start planning designs for a few pairs of sneakers I have to paint.

Well, it's later and almost tonight and I haven't even started. I think I'm going to post this draft now so I'll have to work on it and finish this commission tonight. I have until Saturday but I rather get it out of the way; with this posted, my OCD should kick it and get it done. I hope this tricks me.
Friday, December 10, 2010

Custom Sneakers Anyone?

Hey there followers, new comers, and hopefully sneaker heads! About two years ago, I decided to buy a decent amount of Angelus Leather Acrylic Paints off this website so I could start painting sneakers. Although it is a lot of work, I was so into painting sneakers at the time that I was doing them for free. Actually, the only pair that I did get paid for was the white Globes below.

After getting the paints, you will need to buy some acetone, cotton balls and q-tips. Before doing any painting, you must first use acetone to remove the factory clear coat from the leather. It takes about ten minutes per shoe, wastes about fifty cotton balls, and ten q-tips. This is important because it will help the paint adhere to leather properly and it will protect your work while wearing them. In stress point areas, near the front of the shoe, its also a good idea to lightly sand the area to make sure there is no cracking later on during use. I like to paint on neutral colored sneakers, although black isn't optimal, because the paint will only need a few coats and the acetone will not smear the factory colors. Smearing colors could potentially contaminate intentionally unpainted portions of the shoe because it is very hard to be precise with cotton balls. After you have finished painting, you must clear coat your work several times to protect it from cracking, dirt, cleaning, etc which can also be found on the website above. They have mat and glossy so I had to buy both!!

So here we go! This post contains some old images of a pair of sneakers I painted for my buddy Mike that I thought deserved some attention. The sneakers were originally made by Globe and the shoe design is called "The Don." Now they are called 'The Dan.' I may also have a few pictures of other sneakers I painted on my hard drive, so if that's the case I'll post those too.
Mike's Globes

Hank's Jordan 4 Retro

David's Air Force Ones

This was the very first pair of sneakers I painted. They were an old, worn out pair of all white Nike Air Force Ones that I transformed into a NEW and SUPER CLEAN pair of kicks as you can see by the soles.

If you'd like your own pair of D. Lyons Custom Kicks please email me at

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Practice to Opinion

I received an email from my friend's mother this morning regarding some pictures I took during my trip to New Jersey in October. She asked if I could send her a few that I had taken at her house during my stay there. While searching around for the pictures in question, I stumbled upon some caricatures I had completed of a few lucky friends and family while I visited mom's house.

I know that "practice makes perfect" but you have to admit it's weird when you can see it. Looking at drawings from high school to now, I can obviously see how much my line quality has developed and how techniques have changed the face of my art, but to see a difference in the same type of art in less than one year is pretty crazy for me. I have been drawing for well over twenty years now and have never seen myself improve so rapidly. There have been countless times in my life where I have spent eight hours in one day drawing, but still time and skill were almost immeasurable in my art then. Now, it's night and day. I guess it makes sense that drawing all day for work would greatly increase your chances of getting better but its really cool to see and it feels good to know that you're growing.
My mom's friend Mary
My friend BCore
My dad
Grandma 2010
Grandma 2009

I wish I had examples of a few park sketches so I could compare them to the artist I was to the artist I am today. This is sort of the reason why I haven't posted any caricatures until now. I feel that I always can do better, I could always exaggerate or draw that face differently, and/or tweak a few things to make it better. Just looking at these two pictures of my grandmother conveys my point. Everything has gotten better in terms of the lines, the coloring, and the composition. Even my signature has been positively modified. I can see how confident I've become with the marker and well I can now utilize the color stix. My hand has been trained to create straighter lines with each stroke and the weight of each line seems to change much easier on the eyes without as many obstructions. Practice doesn't make perfect but it does make better, although everyone doesn't always agree. My grandma likes the 2009 better than updated version and there lies the beauty in art.. the power of opinion.
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Unleaded Diesel

My girlfriend Natalie inspired me yesterday when she decided to do a value drawing of me in graphite pencils. After watching her draw me, I realized that I hadn't drawn with pencils since I started doing caricatures with Kaman's Art Shoppes almost two years ago. When I was in high school I was all about value sketches. Graphite was my bread and butter then. Even through my first and second semester at Brookdale Community College in NJ, I rocked the H through 8B hard. Anyway, seeing my girlfriend draw suddenly gave me the urge to draw and the only thing I had handy was the image of my friend's parents' dogs from my previous post. This is another drawing of Diesel but instead of a caricature, it's more of a doggy portrait on 7" x 10" recycled paper drawing paper.
Friday, December 3, 2010

Random Everything

Last week I received a message on Facebook from my friend's mother who is an avid art collector. Her house has some pretty awesome paintings and prints done by very famous artists such as Keith Harring, Roy Leinchestien, and Jerry Garcia just to name a few. She asked if she could buy something I have done and I was honored. I told her to go through some of my pictures and pick out something she likes. The funny thing is, she decided to buy a caricature I did of myself when I decided to quit smoking, which, oddly enough, depicts me shirtless and scantly clad in an ashtray, completely immersed in cigarette butts. The picture is supposed to represent a jacuzzi and how relaxingly gross cigarettes can be. How bad they make everything you own smell.. How you would do anything to get them.. How you would buy them before food or clothes.. Just thinking about them makes me sick.

To finish this story, after receiving a check for the artwork I also randomly received a call from her son a few hours later. I hadn't spoken to him for more than six months and he had no idea that his mother had purchased some artwork from me. It was pretty random like I said. Its good that I did see him though because his mother had commissioned me another drawing in the letter that she sent that I overlooked. She sent me a picture of her dogs and wanted a "cartoony" drawing of them. Planning it took long but the finished piece only took an hour or so. Thanks for the pointers Marco Darko.

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