Bill Dawson is a designer/illustrator/raconteur based in Los Angeles. Yes… that Los Angeles. He isn’t married to a movie star and he’s never been to the Academy Awards, but his typeface Megahertz was poorly used in Kevin Smith’s movie Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
Megahertz was selected as an indicator of our moronic future in Mike Judge’s flawed masterpiece Idiocracy. Megahertz was also employed for the logo for the second Hollywood incarnation of Sony’s Spider-Man, the first Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon, and the first logo for Jay Z’s RocaWear. Bae tell Jay to call Bill. Thanks, Boo.
Bill is not very good at writing in the third person so he will stop that. Now.
Since my early days growing up in New England—yes, that New England—and upstate New York, I’ve considered myself a frustrated cartoonist. My career in motion graphic design hasn’t often called on my illustration ability, so I don’t employ it as often as I might. As a digital artist, Adobe Illustrator has been my go to art creation tool for nearly 25 years. Yes, I remember the dark times BPF (Before Pathfinder) and BAG (Before Astute Graphics).
I became aware of Astute Graphics Illustrator plug-ins via the excellent work of Von Glitschka. I was immediately impressed, both by Von’s work and what was possible with AG’s toolset. AG’s tools have made an impact on the method and capability of my drawing.
In early March 2015 started creating a series of comic portraits of comedians. It’s a personal project I’m calling Comics of Comedy. To date I’ve created 28 portraits, the most recent is of the late, great Andy Kaufman.
When I saw that AG was asking for artist submissions, I submitted two illustrations for consideration in June. One was of Chris Rock.
The other was my first hero of comedy—Steve Martin. It wasn’t the first portrait I’d ever drawn of Steve. I drew a portrait of Mr Martin that he signed after a performance in Saratoga Springs, New York back in 1979. Time travel is a wonderful thing.
I waited to draw Steve Martin for this series. I wanted to refine my technique first. Astute Graphics tools were a big part of that refinement. InkScribe is a great tool for drawing better curves.
I have drawn freehand using DynamicSketch and a Wacom Intuous (like in this rejected drawing for a Google project).
With the Comics of Comedy (CC) I mostly draw with an Apple Magic Mouse. I’m intentionally reducing the portraits to simple geometry and shapes. My goal is simple but expressive portraits.
I also use the Extend Path and Smart Remove tools (from the VectorScribe plug-in) quite a bit. You can see the difference the Smart Remove Brush makes in artwork where a stroke is expanded. Steve’s hair was a mess before PathScribe.
Even though most of the CC portraits are very symmetrical, I steer clear of MirrorMe. This is a conscious decision because I want some human error in these drawings. Our faces aren’t all that symmetrical, after all.
Two tools I’ve begun using are ColliderScribe2 and Phantasm. I am excited to explore the possibilities of ColliderScribe for creating interesting patterns and textured fills. Phantasm has become an essential part of my finishing process. Having Photoshop-like controls for colors is a very big deal. I like to tweak the color and texture of these drawings in Photoshop, but with Phantasm I can explore and edit for better colors while in Illustrator.
I really appreciate the mug. It will deliver my daily caffeine infusion and remind me to practice my banjo.
Thanks for selecting me and for appreciating the Comics of Comedy. http://on.be.net/1F8zs4O Stay tuned. There are more to come.
Huge thanks to Bill for this very well written and funny article. We hope you enjoy your mug and continue to enjoy our plug-ins! Comics of Comedy are available to purchase here.
There's still a few days to enter this months competition and we've extended the competition to Facebook and Instagram now.
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