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Lesson 5 from: The Power Of Your Own Two Hands

James Victore

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Lesson Info

5. Everything

Lesson Info


(upbeat music) This section is aptly called Everything, 'cause I kind of use everything. I don't want anything to be outside of my domain, my expertise, my skillset. I'm a collagist. I like to use a bunch of different elements. I like drawing on photographs. I like different pens. I like different textures. I like different techniques. I never wanna be tied down to. And here's a big thing for you, if you're going to take this thing and translate it professionally, what I don't want to do is be known for one thing. Because that's all everybody's gonna want from you. And on top of that, I don't want a client to expect. I don't want them to expect anything. I want them to hire me because they want risk. They want chance. They want to know that they're gonna get world-class. That they're gonna get the best. Not that they're gonna get that little squiggly line drawing or they're gonna get that smudge or that whatever. So it's something to think about when you're moving around and trying t...

o stake your claim on a mark, make a name for yourself. Be, my favorite word, be audacious. Be fricking audacious and bold. So I'm gonna take you through a couple of various tools, kind of the kitchen sink, if you will. And the first one is actually, just this brush. We haven't talked about just a paint brush. I don't use them as much, but they come in very handy for certain marks, for certain times. You see, I have a whole bunch of them back here and all different things, and I never really got good at them. I remember in art school, in painting class, I never really kind of got the hang of it. But let me show you a couple of pieces that I've done that I kind of really dig, and the first one is, actually again, Entrepreneur magazine, that was probably done with this brush, 'cause it actually looks like it's still stained a little bit orange right there. So again, when I had a column in the magazine, regularly, I would write and design the page and illustrate it. And this illustration was just literally, I just had this idea of Just Start was just like, "Ah, Just Start," like, "Oh, let's go!" Exclamation point. So I made this exclamation point, boom, the little legs were drawn separately, and scanned in black and then just like, (James blowing raspberries) popped in just like the type. And the type is, actually, that is pencil. Both of these are pencil. And scanned in and put in. And I just wanted a pencil to be here because I had the pen here, the marker here. But what you can't see in here or it might not show up at the camera is, actually, when I drew this, because I'm a designer and because I see shape and proportion and color and I see all these things, the explanation point was too tall. I had drawn it too tall. But I really liked how it ended, I really liked the colors. I just mixed some red paint and some orange paint. There was like some red, blah, blah, blah. Some orange, blah, blah, blah. Mixed them together and just went for it. But I really liked it, but it was too tall. So in order to get the proportions right, basically, this is the original drawing. To get the proportions right, I just cut it up. I cut it up and I put it. You can see that it was like a half inch too tall. So I cut it up and I taped it back together. And this line here shows up in the actual piece and guess what? I don't care. And guess what? Nobody else cared. And guess what? Nobody called me on it. So I was free to just take this artwork and manipulate it and make it the shape I wanted so it would be the right proportion. And then what I did when I wrote this handy dandy awesome book, Feck Perfuction, you can see the similarity in the mark here. Chapter two. (James laughing) Chapter two is fear. Chapter three is start, just start. And there it is again. And here you can really see that line between the two. And here I just used the little running man. Again, it changes color. Remember, we were talking about like detuning a guitar on uncoated paper, what happens when you put ink on there? So this is kind of a good example of the freedom that I try to give myself, instead of redrawing this 30 times and just going, "Ah, I can't! Oh, now I'm late for dinner." I just get it done, manipulate it the way I want. What I would not do, just because it's not fun for me, it doesn't mean you can't do it. I wouldn't manipulate it in the computer. I wouldn't try to like, you know. I would do that with a photograph. If a photograph, if I've got a bowl of a still life with fruit and it's a little bit too wide, in Photoshop, I will literally copy the picture and then just slide the picture boxes and jam it together. So it was actually, like, so you could literally see that I've done it. The pear hat stops halfway through and then reproduces on the other side. That's fine by me. Again, I'm not trying to hide that I'm doing this thing. I'm not trying to trick anybody. So that is done with just a really simple brush and acrylic paints. I've got a lot of acrylic paints around here. I don't really use them that much. But I will show you something else I do with acrylic in a moment. So that is Just Start. Here is a fun little project and I'll show you how this one work. And this is just me being a collagist. So for a number of years, I was the creative director for the men's line of Yohji Yamamoto, the Japanese fashion designer. So I did all of his direct mail and I did all of the posters and all the marketing pieces for them and for each season. So there was one particular season that we were working on and I was trying to make a poster for them. Let me unfold this sucker. And what I had done was I had roughly drawn in his name and the season. So it just says Yohji and then there's using his signature here. I had roughly drawn them in and, literally, in the studio I had a big piece of paper and I blew these letter forms up. I drew these with a paint pen. And I blew them up on the copier. Again, I used the copier a lot. And then I took the scissors and I cut out these shapes. And I was just trying to arrange them on a page to see what they look like to kind of get my proportions. I wasn't happy that my copier didn't feel well that day. And it's putting all these lines in it. But then when I had laid them all out, I looked at it and I was like, "Oh, my gosh. That's better than where I was going. Let's just stop here." So why continue designing and trying to make it perfect when I had this? So what I did is I taped gently from behind, I taped all these pieces. The model and this. This piece here, this little full color guy was put in after. And Yohji's signature was put in after, in the InDesign file. But tape them all down and then basically got a high res photo of the piece of paper that had its own color and texture, the piece of paper with the other things. And you can see they're literally sitting on top of each other. Like I don't wanna hide that. I think I worked really hard to get these shadows to work so you can see the dimension in it. And they really loved it. They wanted that. I've only once had a client who completely challenged me and said, "Can't you be more creative?" (James laughing) You'll never get that. You'll never get that. And I got it once and it was awesome, and it totally, totally freaked me out. And then what we did is we made the envelope for it, but we printed on the inside of the envelope. So we printed all this stuff on the inside of the envelope. We did a lot of beautiful little, you know, finding the Easter egg as they say. So here, I'm working very much like a collagist. I'm just taking this. And actually the Just Start, that exclamation point. I'm just kind of putting them together, collaging them in a way that feels comfortable and feels natural. So that is me being a collagist with type and shape and colors for Yohji Yamamoto. This, you will not recognize on its own. And this is masking tape. This is black masking tape in that size, because when you blow this up, it's going to get bolder. And there's black masking tape in this size. And what I was doing with just tape was, I went through a whole series of working with it for almost a year. And I actually got pretty good, actually got too good working with tape type that it didn't look like tape anymore. And I didn't like that so I stopped. But this is type made out of tape because the way it shows up in the finished piece, is this. This poster. So this is all tape in the different sizes. And we see when you blow it up, it gets bold and you can see the tape bits. There were two of these that were put up around Times Square around the holidays. And this one says "Disney, go home." And the other one said, "Just say no." And it was all about the Disneyfication of Times Square. It was a different time in New York. It was much less commercial. I was just showing you. So here, you can see the tape type. And it's been through the copier a couple of times. And I didn't really want to show any of the shadows or the edges, so I just wanted it super flat. So here you can see what that type looks like. And then I love, love, love fluorescent pink, fluorescent green, so. And here, again, is a splash that I really loved, I had made, and I used it again and again and again and here's one of the instances. Okay, you ready to get a little messy now? Okay. Next thing I want to show you is. So I am always fascinated by, well, first of all, I started as a designer because I liked working with my hands. If I wasn't a designer or an artist, I'd be a furniture maker. I would make beautiful wobbly furniture. 'Cause I just like working with my hands. I like tools. And I try to use all of the tools, all of the design tools available, all of the ways to make a mark. But there are some that I can't really get my head around right now. I like those magic markers, those Tombow markers. We've got a lot of 'em around the house, I just can't figure out how to use 'em just yet or how to use 'em so that it's me. Chalk paint. Children's chalk paint. Can't figure it out. I've seen people do beautiful things with it. I can't figure it out. Maybe I'll figure it out someday and I'll make something nice with it. But one thing that I have figured out a little bit is finger paint. I figured out how to use finger paint and not make it look like finger paint. That's the important part. So one of the things I got an opportunity to do a total branding on an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. So it was a big museum. We did the big banners out front, the signage. We did the big poster for it called Popup, The Popup Generation. Actually, I had worked in that exhibition as well. And I took the opportunity to do some finger paint. So this was my little comp that I had done. So it's finger paint, black acrylic paint, here on top. And this was my test. I did the underpainting in white just to see what it would look like to get that to kind of stand off from there. And I love how it has the darks and the lights. And then this is at a hundred percent, this is at finger paint size. Which at finger paint size is not interesting. But when you start doing that and you start blowing it up and it gets, people thought I had drawn that with a massive sumi brush or something. And I actually have a friend in the Netherlands, and actually, his work is in the show, who does use a sumi brush, but instead of that, he uses either a mop or a push broom and pushes ink and paint around. And it is gorgeous. So the way the actual art, this is the actual art for Popup. So here is the finger painting. And then this is the underpainting of it. So this will get scanned in as black, excuse me, scanned in black and then turned white, and then this will get dropped over it. And what you end up seeing is this. I started working on the poster first and Popup was the name. And then when we started designing the catalog, you see here's the front and the back of the catalog. And I did the inside as well. But when we started working on the catalog, they told me it's called The Popup Generation. And I'm like, "There's no way finger paint is gonna look good when you start shrinking it down that small." So instead of The Popup Generation, it says "The" right here, teeny weeny in white, which is this, just a pen. The Popup Gen. (James laughing) Eration didn't fit. So it just says it here, generation. And they loved it. So here, let me show you how we do this. So there's the black with the underpainting of white. And then I continued this motif around to the back of the catalog as well. Let me do a little show and tell of how this works. So we're just gonna use regular black acrylic paint, gonna do it on general because it's super smooth. I don't think it'll really work on any other. I've tried on other surfaces and I don't think it really works. So let's see how this goes. Put a little black right there. Clean off my brush. (James laughing) There you go. There you go. And you're gonna have to practice about the kind of pressure that you want. If you want black black or if you want lighter. So if I push harder, you get more of the fingerprint, more of the fingerprint look. This little wiggly stuff looks fantastic. Look at that. It's beautiful. You just have to play with it and figure out. Here's another nice thing to do. You could out-James James Victore if you actually put some blue and some green and some yellow there, and you dip your finger, boom, boom, boom into those and then go ahead. That might be pretty sweet. But this is looking pretty good as it is. Let me see if I can get on a piece here. Another shot at the title. Here we go. Oops. Yeah, there's some nice stuff in here. There's some cool stuff that happens. Awesome. Okay, so give that a try. Nothing is below you. Nothing is above you. Just go for it, go for it. See what you can do with these marks. So the last tool I'm gonna show you is a total bonus. And I was inspired to show this thing and share this with you, because last night, my kids came home from school and they had drawn all over themselves with magic marker or whatever. It doesn't matter. And being a good parent, I was like, "That's awesome! How did you do that?" And they told me and they were showing me and they had done that little thing where you draw a mouth on your hand. And it was totally cute. But it totally reminded me of a job I did a couple of years ago where I was drawing with makeup. Esquire magazine got in touch with me, I had a relationship with them, I had done a lot of work with them. They got in touch with me and they wanted me to do. A new Stephen King novel was coming out and they wanted me to write, for some reason, (James laughing) to mix metaphors. They brought in the supermodel Bar Refaeli and wanted me to write the first lines of Stephen King's novel on her. And they were gonna get this amazing photographer, James White, to photograph the whole thing. So the project looked like this at the end, there were a lot of different photographs. There's some beautiful photographs inside the magazine. And actually, after I drew on her we did a whole nother photoshoot of her standing up and me smearing all these words. And what I used was just makeup pens. What I was using at the time was Mac Pro because they have larger pens than this, they're like big magic markers. And this is red and these are black. And the lines they make are fantastic. Okay, let me show you some of this. So, oh, I'm lefthanded. I don't know how this is gonna work. It doesn't matter. (James laughing) I'm lefthanded and I'm hairy so I don't know if it works as well, but it's just a beautiful line. Check that out. Look how smooth that stuff works. Oi, oi. See, I break stuff all the time. I just broke that. Let's see what happens if we mix this. Oh, that's cool. Listen, everything is a tool, everything. Don't stop, keep going trying to figure new ways to make a mark, new ways to enjoy who you are, to enjoy the work that you do. I'm gonna have to get a model. I'm gonna have to get a model and do this some more. This is a blast. This stuff feels so good drawing on. Just find new ways. There are so many tools out there that you can uncover. There are so many different ways to play. And that's the whole thing. Just get out and play, enjoy the process. This would be your homework. Go out and get a simple, they come in great colors right now, an eyebrow pencil. And then just draw on other things. You don't have to use it here, you can use it on your arm, you can use it anywhere. It comes off with, some of 'em are water soluble and some of 'em come off with baby oil. Doesn't matter. Not gonna kill you. It's good for you. This has been a blast. I've enjoyed sharing all these tools and all these ways that I like to play. And that's the thing. Just get out and play, get out and play. Go have a blast. Get back to the reasons why you make in the first place. I'm James Victore, I will see you later. Thank you, CreativeLive, for this opportunity. (James exhaling) I love you. I'll talk to you later, bye. (upbeat music)

Ratings and Reviews

Lucy McConville

What a great class! This guy is so REAL, and clearly so excited by what he gets to do for a living! His examples of what can be achieved with simple tools are very inspiring. Mostly, it was his attitude toward creating, and life in general, that truly lifted me up! Yeah, Man, we can use more of that these days! Thanks James!

Linda Ryan

Wonderful reminder of the "power of the pencil"! I have been drawing since age 3 (maybe 4). I would watch Howdy Doodie try to draw the characters.... and guess what pencil I was given....the old 2HB. Thanks for the reminder. :))


Victore helped me to let perfection go and just listen to the words coming from my heart. This course encouraged me to start my book artwork right after finishing this course.

Student Work