Richard Downs
June 2009
Amazing Grace
"Amazing Grace" | Oil on Paper 12"x15" | personal art for upcoming show
Today I made my 100th image for my "Woman & Man" series. I started the series in 2002 and have enjoyed drawing the same archetypal 4 to 5 body positions throughout the series.

"Woman and Man #101" | Monotype | 2009 | 12"x15" image area | Relief ink on Japanese Paper

"Woman and Man #100" | Monotype | 2009 | 12"x15" image area | Relief ink on Japanese Paper | Sold

"Woman and Man #99" | Monotype | 2009 | 12"x15" image area | Relief ink on Japanese Paper

"Adrift" | Oil on Paper 12"x15" | personal art for upcoming show

My original concept was to flank the figure with heavy black sea walls but when I got started on the plate it didn't feel right so I abandoned that idea and moved the weight of the composition to the Anchors and over-inked that area to the desired effect. I think that I made the right decision if there is a right or wrong in image making.

Q & A
Here is a DVD video cover Illustration for's  QuarkXpress 8 title. In my rush to get my sketches in I didn't notice that I used the X in Xpress and repeated it to the 3x infamy. I still can't believe that I didn't  see that coming and another indication of my innocence as an artist. Art Director Heather Stallings pointed this out to my embarrassment and asked for a revision. I was happy with the revised lead type direction and created 2 background versions for Heather to pick from. I am a bit undecided to which version I like best?.
Photoshop CS4 - Power Shortcuts
Here is a DVD video cover Illustration for . This new video title offers Photoshop CS4 users an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time.  This title covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Sketch #1 and #3  were approved but it was advised not to have any CMYK reference since this course is not specific to print. I went with the Dragster concept and the research was a complete blast, I had so much fun that I had to share some of my reference material.

This was a fun piece because my artistic career started in the custom car painting industry of Southern California in the late 70's. I was a teenage airbrush artist and after High School I tried to make a go in the custom Van and Truck industry that was exploding at that time while navigating myself through the complicated world of art. I got some pretty cool jobs during those few years after High School including airbrushing a Frank Frazetta mural on the "Commodores" (popular musical group in the 70's) Customized Van. The pictures below show a  Dragster and a  Candy Apple Drag Boat (paint only) that I created. I designed the "Walk on Water" typography copying  both a "Uriah Heep"  and "Yes" album covers, designed by Roger Dean.  I was never a gear head and only liked doing the painting and after a few years of working in my homemade spray booth I applied to Art Center College of Design and was accepted in 1980. For the young artists out there that read Drawger, I know first hand as do all Drawger folks that the road to finding yourself as an artist is,,,,,,     getting on that road and going for it!. I guess I am feeling a bit nostalgic with our daughter graduating from High School and starting her own path into the world of fine art. Good luck to all young artists!.

iMovie 2009
Here is a DVD video cover that I just finished for It has been a complete pleasure working with Heather Stallings on these recent covers. The fabulous Don Barnett art directed 16 of my previous covers. These have been a lot of fun for me with tons of art director support and a few wiki links thrown in for understanding the software. The main objective is to be fun, colorful, and abstract. Sketch #2 and #5 were approved and the final decision was left to me, I almost didn't know what to do ?. I went with the birds.

Head Above the Clouds
I did this piece for Robert P. Hernandez at Colby College Alumni Magazine. This story is a first-hand perspective of being Bipolar. The author addressed the stigma of the disorder and his failures and accomplishments in his life. This was a touching story with the authors final realization that despite his challenges he was a success. Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Robert and the Editor picked sketch #2 but felt that the shapes didn't look enough like clouds so I revised the design and it was approved. This was a fun assignment, thanks again, Robert!.

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