It's not often that we get to peer inside the creative process of artists. Usually, the final product is what counts, and the rest remains a secret. ("Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!") That's why we wanted to share with you how John crafts his holiday characters. And we wanted to share this not through words (like the rest of our 'Tantalizing Void' series), but instead through a video of the artist at work.
Snail mail is our favorite kind of mail. And while the holidays are sometimes a heachache (*thank you champagne toasts*), this season of merrymaking brings about a tradition that we at Artiphany still hold dear: sending out cards to thank the people in our lives for putting up with all our nonsense.
John's holiday card collection is bright and festive and all of those warm fuzzy things, but it is also a study in character and movement. The mice skaters set out on the frozen bird bath without a care, only to slip and slide, their little bodies unsuited for such an agile activity. Cats and dogs make peace, sliding down snowy slopes, whiskers stiffening in the cold wind and tongues flopping.
These videos show John sketching out a scene from his All Skate image, which takes physical form as a tri-fold greeting card replete with comical skating costumes and wobbly knees. And because of the increased space, enabled by the tri-fold style, John is able to present the action on the ice through a wide landscape of miniature, doggy dramas: 8 in all, each with a unique snout and festive wardrobe.
Though they all appear chummy - like one big, diverse, happy family - there are a few relationships that are more vibrant. The pairing John draws in these videos is one of these: between a floopy-eared pup in a tasteful purple sweater and a modest, blue peacoat and a scruffy mutt, wrapped in a flamboyant coat that appears to be half-carpet and half-feather boa. The pup squints into the cold breeze and the mutt stares adoringly upwards, into the pup's salt-and-pepper face. Their joy is genuine and they both have broken into wide smiles...
...which is about the time you realize that these characters don't, in fact, have lips but jowls and that these are hounds, not humans. Funny how easily the mind, and the pencil, tricks us...
Now, I know these videos and illustrations are mesmerizing...but now that you've absorbed and enjoyed....get off your computers and tablets and phones and out to the dog park! All of you! Don't make me bark at you!
Love and dog bones,