05 May, 2009

Colorado Front Range & Studio News

Colorado Front Range
1" x 10"
Casey Klahn

This mountain image will become the banner over the memorial stone that I am designing for the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. Below the mountains, which will be in raised relief on bronze, will be the header: WORLD WAR II TENTH MOUNTAIN DIVISION, UNITED STATES ARMY.

My previous entries of this project are here and here.

When you hail from a mountain state like Washington, it is important that you don't just throw up mountains that look like your own area! I wanted to be sure to get the look accurate to the Colorado Front Range, which is where the memorial will be placed. Maybe only a climber would notice, but it was one more thing in the process of creating this granite and bronze memorial.

So much for my foray into the world of illustration. I see that commercial art has much more to it than one may think. Research into the actual look of things is troublesome and time consuming. For my WW II climber, I happened to have an original US Army alpine rucksack in my studio, and I made my wife pose wearing it in the same aspect that my climber would be adopting. I also posed a mannequin to back up the image. I had to look up the M1 Garand rifle to be really sure of the
authentic look. The helmet is another bugaboo, which can be difficult to get right because of it's cast three dimensional shape (and its iconic status). Luckily, when I served in the infantry, we still wore the old WW II style helmet, and so the look is well impressed on my mind. But, I still got photo references to be sure. Then, let's not forget the actual climbing moves. It helps to have been there and done that, since photos and images of rock climbers can often look so foreign to the eye that sometimes it's hard to tell which way is up.

Now I have new respect for guys like Milton Caniff (one of my favorite cartoonists), whose studio can be seen via Gurney Journey. I grew up reading his Sunday strip about Steve Canyon, who always got around in a jeep or a C-47 airplane. And, they always looked correct.

Back to fine art, which is my actual day job. Since we cannot take pictures until night in the studio, finding the evening time to get photos of all my new work has been challenging. By the time we get the kids to bed, often the mommy and the daddy are too pooped to make the long trek across the yard to the studio!

Here is a sneak peek at my studio activities during this busy time. New river landscapes are on the left, and the famous rucksack and climber image are below and to the right.

Messy, Messy, Messy Studio

P.S. Just got the Twitter news (thanks, Alyson) that today is National Cartoonist Day. How about that?


Bob Lafond said...

I can't wait to see the new river landscapes. They look great. The studio also looks well organized, not messy.


Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Bob. I do have a lot of organizational tools and tricks going as my studio seems to shrink over time. Someday I'll start on that addition.

Miki Willa said...

Wow! I am really looking forward to seeing each of the river pictures featured. They look fantastic.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you, Miki!

Brian McGurgan said...

Always nice to get a look at your studio, Casey. I'm looking forward to the river drawings as well.

Casey Klahn said...

And thanks to you, Brian.

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