Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Portfolio Progress 2

Another snippet from a larger image I'm working on. This one's done in pencil. I really like the concept here, but you'll have to wait for it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Portfolio Progress 1

The portfolio sprucing has commenced! I don't want to spoil the surprise, so I'm not going to show entire images until I'm done with everything, but here's an inset from a much larger acrylic illustration I'm working on.

I'm kind of big on texture, so I try to add as much to my work as possible. I scratch, sand, and otherwise maul the painting surface as I go. Lots of fun!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Of Lizards and Fraggles (From the Moleskine)

Drew this last night while watching Prince Caspian. I don't know what's up with this guy's hair, but I'm thinking it's a direct, subconscious result of my childhood infatuation with Fraggle Rock.

Oh, and I just found out that Disney's backing out of the next installment of The Chronicles of Narnia (LA Times article here). Lame! I really hope they reconsider. It would be a shame for the quality of the films to change just because Caspian didn't do as well in theaters. (Plus, I really hate it when the DVD cases for movies in a series don't match each other.) Disney has a good franchise going with Narnia! What are they thinking?!? Grrr.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Real Dream in Life

People sometimes ask me, "What made you want to become an illustrator?" My answer: the gingerbread architect gig fell through.

My wife and I made this tonight. I think it's pretty good, but all the critics out there are telling me it's not really professional enough and that I should work on refining my style. What do they know?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I drew this last night while watching The Santa Clause (a Christmas favorite -- don't diss it). Inspiration: a nativity I saw at my church a few weeks back.

The semester is officially over, and boy am I relieved! I'm also really excited, because I'm going to take the "break" to work on my illustration portfolio. I'll keep you posted with sketches and updates of that process. I'll be posting some new stuff on my website in the coming weeks, too (I hope), so keep reading!

Housekeeping business: For those of you who follow the blog via RSS, sorry about the backposts (I think I may have invented that word). I'll try not to do that again -- just had to finish the posts for a class.

Random question: Why do they make kitchen cabinet shelves so tall you can't get anything out of them without a chair? I'm guessing it's a question of aesthetics. Like high heels.

And you thought Faulkner knew stream of consciousness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fine Art

Sometimes, I do fine art, too. (Although I've never made money from it.) I like these two experiments.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Sketchbooks!

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to help stimulate the flailing economy and buy some sketchbooks. Stock traders of America, you should now feel confident that the average consumer is, indeed, consuming.

I've never purchased a Moleskine book before, so I thought I'd give them a try. Buying a Moleskine book seems to be this rite of passage into a whole new group of "cool" people. It's like buying a Mac or something. So, now I'm officially even cooler than before. Any of you who want to be my friend now based on my taste in sketchbooks, feel free :) I bought two -- a storyboarding book and a regular sketchbook -- and I think I'm in love.

My books are really small and fit in my pants pocket, so I can take them anywhere. The creamy paper is really nice to draw on, and it's pretty thick, so my pen lines don't leak through (although marker does). The little elastic strap that keeps the book closed is nice, too.

I guess my only problem is that whenever I get a nice sketchbook, I always feel a little scared to mess it up. Like my own markings in the thing will desecrate it and make it so much less cool than it was when it was blank. Do you ever feel like that?

More sketches to come from the Moleskines.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Show and Tell, Week 11 - My Collection

Any collection I really have is either packed away in our "don't-touch-until-we-have-a-house-again" closet, or is a collection of artist's materials that I actually use. But, I love collecting books and happened to find this one just in time to show it off in Words and Images class (thanks, Aunt Carol, if you're reading this).

This one's got a copyright from Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1910. I sort of geek out about this stuff, so forgive me, but I love looking at the impressions the press made on this book's paper, seeing how the inks on the cover mis-register and slightly bleed into each other, and I think the pencil illustrations are fabulous!

I think Mr. Stubbs's Brother is a monkey. Some day, maybe I'll crack the cover looking for something other than design inspiration, and I'll let you know.

Show and Tell, Week 11 - Little Ant Design

My wife's aunt, Denise, throws really cool parties. Check out some of her ideas here: Little Ant Design.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

334: A Love Story

There are a few things I still want to fix with this, and the reduced frame rate messes up a couple of parts, but I'll fix that when the semester's over. Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kids and Shaving Cream

For everyone in Words and Images -- this is playing with shaving cream! :) My kids volunteered for the photoshoot.

By the way, what do you all think of the whole sideways smiley face thing? :) Is this becoming acceptable writing protocol? I get the feeling like it's becoming a part of speech.

Sketch Crawl 2009

Keep your schedules open for Jan. 10th! Enrico Casarosa started an event called SketchCrawl in 2004, and I'll be participating in it for the first time next year. The idea behind SketchCrawl is basically to take a day-long walk around whatever city you live in, sketch what you see, and then post your stuff to the SketchCrawl forum. So, while Enrico sketches all day in the SF Bay area, I'll be wearing my Eskimo parka and double layers of thermal underwear (okay, really, I don't have either of those things, but I'll probably be wishing I did!) to take a sketching tour around Baltimore! I'm still not that familiar with Baltimore, so this should be a good chance to get some exercise, familiarize myself with some of the cool areas in the city, and get frostbitten/mugged.

I'm interested in organizing it into an event with a bigger group of people, 1) so I don't die after accidentally walking into a bad part of town and 2) so other people can freeze along with me. No drawing skills required. Anyone interested?

Oh, and I think I'm going to buy the shirt for it, too. It's organic.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Identity Assignment: Formati

These are some images that show the process I went through for a recent typography assignment. The logotype (created for a furniture company) had to be designed from scratch using only shapes we created ourselves. In retrospect, I think I like the green logo best. I don't like the calligraphy one at all, but I do like the blue one. I think the little ornament on the "m" makes it look too much like a face, but I'll fix that some other time.

(Oh, and just in case, the image in the brochure was provided to us in class, so I have no idea where it comes from.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Show and Tell, Week 9 - Packaging Design

I think this packaging design is pretty good! Fred's simple packaging allows you to see exactly what you're getting. I wish I had shots from other angles, but oh well!

©2008 Fred

Packaging Preview

Here's the route I'm taking for my Words and Images packaging design. I like the retro/Raggedy Ann and Andy/Happy Hocky Family look, so I thought I'd put that into my own work. Final design to arrive on the scene shortly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Ideas come to me in the oddest ways sometimes.

I was working on my typography assignment for next week (movie titles for the Tom Hanks film, Big), when I realized that the Pantone colors I had chosen looked great together. I liked the vibration the colors created when they were placed next to each other, so I decided to try and use them in a design that didn't have any other purpose but to be fun.

I started with a blue background and just started making shapes. The shapes turned into a turtle. Then I thought, "What would be a good name for a movie about a turtle?" Float. I started moving the type around and then thought, "What floats?" The flotation device was born, and it fit perfectly with the "o".

Suddenly, I had a story . . .


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Caption It Again!

I thought I'd try this little caption game again. What do you think is being said here?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Of Giraffes and Skates . . .

Here's a character from an illustration I'm working on. The finished illustration will be done shortly.

While I was working on the giraffe, I just started messing around and created these two characters. There's a story here, I know it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tired. Sketches. Movie.

I stayed up really late on Friday to finish up the rough cut of my movie for Words and Images. I'm still recovering. I guess I just can't pull crazy hours like I used to. Whew!

Anyway, here are some sketches from Typography class. I did them on some 3"x5" cards I was using for storyboarding my movie. I started out sketching my story and ended up drawing these guys. Apparently, there was a glasses theme going on in my head that night.

And right now, there's an "I want to sleep" theme going on. I imagine most of my class feels the same way.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Show and Tell, Week 8 - Favorite Words

For Words and Images, I had to make a list of my favorite words. I can't say I really have a ton of favorite words, but here are some I think sound cool:
  • mutiny
  • shrivel
  • stand
  • utopia
  • light
  • blizzard
  • quench
  • gnash
  • dissonance
  • truth
  • splint
  • traffic
  • quoth
  • daft
What are your favorite words? (I realize this is a backpost and no one will read it, but if you do, feel free to comment away. [I reserve the right to backpost whenever I feel like it. And to use "backpost" as a single word. And to begin my sentences with "And"." And to use brackets within parentheses.])

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Preview of Coming Attraction

Here's an image from a video I'm working on in my Words and Images class. (For those of you who saw what I was going to do last Saturday, I've completely switched ideas. See you all soon!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Out of Curiosity . . .

. . . I've always wondered what a post like this would do to my rank in a Google search. Please don't continue reading this. It's just an experiment.

Sam Ricks. Samuel Ricks. Samuel with the last name Ricks. Ricks, Samuel. Did you know that my last name is Ricks? It's almost like Rick but with an "s" at the end. Samuel (Sam for short) Ricks does illustration and graphic design (he is, consequently, poor for short). He also enjoys writing, reading, and voting (when the chance arrives). Samuel (also known as Sam) sometimes attempts to increase his Google search engine ranking by doing strange posts on his (Samuel's) blog. Samuel's blog usually just shows Sam's art, but sometimes Sam bares his soul about important issues. He has, perhaps, done this once. (About now referring to myself in third person about makes me vomit.) Sam Ricks grew up in Winslow, AZ, a small town with lots of dirt (and heart).

Okay (Sam Ricks), you know what? (Sam Ricks) I can't (Sam) take (Ricks) it (Sam Sam) anymore! (Ricks) (Ricks) I'm never (Samuel) (Samuel) writing (Ricks) a blog post like this (Sam Ricks) again. Hand Cramp is the name of Sam's blog. Blogging by Sam. Sam's hand is cramping writing this post about Hand Cramp, the official blog of Sam Ricks.

What do you think it will do to my ranking? Right now, under "Sam Ricks", my website shows up but not my blog. Nothing under "hand cramp", either. We'll see what happens in a couple of weeks.

I love taking search engine optimization into my own hands!

Doodles from Class

Here are a few doodles from my Design/Business Link class and Words and Images. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Show and Tell, Week 7 - Narrative

One of the most exciting books I've read recently is The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. I don't have time to go into a lot of detail right now, but it's a novel, graphic novel, and film hybrid.

For a slideshow of the opening images, click here. For me, the book was quite a magical experience. And a fast read, too. Its 550 pages took me about a day to finish.

images copyright © 2007, Brian Selznick