Monday, April 30, 2012

ROUND ROBIN Promo video !

We're very excited to announce that our ROUND ROBIN promo video is up !

For the past 3 months, we've been working hard on making this promo/making-of video for our new book, and the up-coming exhibitions with Galerie Arludik and Rare Device. We hope it will help introduce you to the ROUND ROBIN project and to our creative process. 

To make the promo we've worked closely with many talented and brilliant people. Their expertise and generous help has made it all possible. We'd like to give credit to:

Editor and Original Music - Zach Johnston
Motion Graphics - Craig Foster | Zach Johnston
Camera - Tony Kaplan | James Robertson
Producer - Elizabeth Thiers

A special thanks goes to the talented Zach Johnston, who not only edited the video and animated some of its charming motion graphics, but who also composed the original score! If you haven't seen his work, check out the beautiful animated Sketchtravel short, which he collaborated on with Dice Tsutsumi. 

ROUND ROBIN upcoming events:

Paris - 
ROUND ROBIN Exhibition at Galerie Arludik 
Exibition of all 45 original paintings from the three ROUND ROBIN books plus 30 bookplate paintings. Exhibition opens on 5/29, reception on Thursday, 5/31/2012, 18:30 ~ 21:30.

San Francisco -
ROUND ROBIN 3 booksigning and exhibition at Rare Device 
5/5 ~ 6/1, 2012, Exibition of bookplate paintings and Giclee prints from ROUND ROBIN 3.

Rare Device window display is up !

Yesterday, on a sunny Sunday morning, Asaki installed our ROUND ROBIN 3 window display at Rare Device ! Her design as always, clear, thoughtful, and beauftiful ! We're so fond of her lovely work, and hope you'll too ! Our Rare Device book signing and exhibition opening reception will be this Saturday 5/5,  3 ~ 6pm,  Hope you can come celebrate with us, and see the display in person !

*** We have an exciting update coming soon today ! Please stay tuned !

Monday, April 23, 2012

ROUND ROBIN 3 at Rare Device !

Finally, the exciting news ! ROUND ROBIN 3 will be out next Saturday, May 5th

To celebrate the launch of the book, our wonderful local San Francisco host, Rare Device, is holding a ROUND ROBIN 3 book signing and gallery opening for us from 3~6pm. Please come join us then !

Along with the books, the gallery will be exhibiting our new 15 original bookplate paintings (4x6"), and 10 selected exclusive gilée prints (10x12") from ROUND ROBIN 3. The exhibition will be up from 5/5 to 6/1, 2012.

Rare Device has moved to its new location at 600 Divisadero St. at Hayes St. in San Francisco, the new space is lovely, full of sunlight, and as always, full of wonderful gems of design products, books, and art ! 

Also, once agian, our amazing display artist friend, Asaki Oda, is designing the all new window display for our exhibition, and it'll also be up at Rare Device on 04/30. Below are some sneak peaks, work in progress shots !

We hope to see you soon next Saturday, 5/5 !

Monday, April 16, 2012


The story of Round Robin 3 follows the misadventures of three snooty sheep, Fuzzy, Flounce, and Woolala. The three sheep are separated as the story progresses and each artist was tasked with illustrating a sheep's particular storyline.

For Round Robin 3 I had to illustrate Flounce's story line. First I had to come up with a unique look for Flounce. I imagined her to have an athletic and stocky build, but also be quick and agile on her feet.

In the middle of the story, Flounce crashes through a warehouse ceiling into a wrestling ring. For Round Robin 3 I wanted to try a more graphic approach to the paintings. Instead of just illustrating Flounce landing in a wrestling ring, I chose to really emphasize Flounce's crash landing and tried to simplify the image to show just that with these simple thumbnails:

Although the thumbnails are simple, I still wanted the illustration to be fun and full of energy. I experimented with colored tissue paper and found I could create a really colorful and interesting texture to paint on.

After laying down the base of color tissue paper and sealing it with matte medium, I painted large, simple shapes on top with gouache. I also added some gold and silver paper on top because it felt like confetti, or pieces of glass from Flounce's fall.

Now that the base is set, I put Flounce into the painting. To help her stand out, her wooly fur is made of cotton rag paper.

The end result is a graphic and abstract representation of a sheep colliding with a festive wrestling ring:

Check in next week, we have an announcement to make about our upcoming show in San Francisco!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Once upon a time...

... not that long ago, we decided to make ROUND ROBIN 3! And instead of playing the round-robin-style word game of the previous 2 books, we took turns in composing an entire round-robin-style story, a process that deserves (and shall get) an entire post of its own later.

Right now I'd like to show you the first painting in the new book!
It's always a daunting task to have to BEGIN a new project, but even more daunting is knowing that the illustration you're beginning will be on page 1! When finished, it will have to set the tone of the book, introduce the characters, the setting, and get people excited to turn the page. No small task. But if I had to think about all that every time I started a new piece of art I would never get anything done.
Instead I focused on what I wanted to learn from the third book, and what I was excited to experiment with. Here is the final illustration:

The first difference in the art approach was that the narrative format asked for a lot more visual continuity between paintings. It was the closest that we've come to traditional book illustration, or because we're filmmakers, to color script.

The second consideration was whether we would all draw the main characters similarly, or each have our own take. The whole idea of ROUND ROBIN is that there is freedom of interpretation between artists, so we opted for the latter. That being said, each artist figured out her personal design rules in her own sketches.
In my case I took inspiration from the protagonists's names: 3 tall snooty sheep named Fuzzy, Flounce and Woolala. I decided that Fuzzy would be sweet, nervous, and a little shy, and that her fur would be pretty thick and unkempt. Flounce would be confident, active and agile. She probably keeps her fur neatly groomed, always looking lean. Woolala is the capable and crafty fashionista who sometimes curls her fur and wears belts that show off her small waist.

As usual I had to look for some inspiration in reference, in this case for the sheep's 12th floor apartment. They live in a big metropolis (New York), presumably in a penthouse. They're pretty well off, so I already had ideas for the environment that I wanted them to inhabit. For some reason I thought it would be fun to introduce them through a giant painting of themselves (because if history has taught me anything is that all wealthy people commission giant portraits of themselves!). I also thought that they would have designed their apartment following some kind of Bauhaus esthetic, which is most obvious in the bookshelf color palette, and the abstract painting above the fireplace. I recently got a great book on Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. Here are some of their works that I referenced and paid homage to:

In terms of technique I wanted to keep up what I had really enjoyed doing in ROUND ROBIN 2, acrylic on wood panel, with a lot of collage. I had the perfect opportunity to use textured hand-made papers for the sheep's fur. Once again I used bright origami papers, in this case for the main accessory each sheep was using. I art directed the characters to have a signature color which went well with the personalities I ascribed to them. Fuzzy loves pastries and carries a yellow tray full of them, Flounce is reading the Sports section of the paper, with a bright red headline. Woolala's color is green, mostly because I liked the idea of the green hat and belt.

And there you have it. Below are some bonus progress images of the painting, and a sneak peek into some of the other characters you'll meet when you see the book.

I hope that sharing a little bit of the making of this painting has got you excited to find out what happens next. Coming up soon, a painting from Katy!