I'm sure that most of the time I was working on this, I had a concentrated, stern expression. Drawn on my iPad for practice and fun.
Boulder's famous landmark is its Flatirons rock formations. Their geography rises above the town inspiring locals and visitors with their beauty.
Being that I live here, it's the most common thing I get commissioned to illustrate. I've drawn them so many times, I no longer require photo reference. Below are all of the Flatirons I've created professionally over the years. These can be found on travel posters, murals, websites, event posters, comics, food packaging, and t-shirts. Most are in my common poster style but I've also experimented with different aesthetics.
Many of these Flatirons can be found in my Boulder travel posters.
Since launching the redesign and rebranding of my site last month, I've seen an increase in mobile browsing.
The template for my new site is so mobile friendly that my artwork shines on the little screen in your hand. Every aspect of the site has been optimized for mobile browsing, from the galleries to the poster shop.
Go ahead, load up SteveLowtwait.com on your phone and tap around.
I feel like I'm finally getting used to digital painting on my iPad. Drawing mermaids is all about the hair - flowy, flowy underwater hair.
@Sketch_Dailies is a Twitter account that posts a new topic every weekday. Thousands of artists of all skill levels participate by drawing the subject and sharing it on Twitter. Sketch Dailies retweets their favorites.
I've drawn most of the subjects over the last two weeks. Sometimes I did a quick drawing, and other times I've created a more polished illustration. Since these are for fun and practice, I've experimented with a variety of visual styles. See more of my daily sketches on Twitter here: @Lowtwait
Click to enlarge:
Bonnie and Clyde, Jessica Rabbit, Ursula, Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, Blackbeard, Big Bad Wolf, Centaur, Jackalope with a jackknife in his jacket jackhammering jacks from a Jacksonville jack-in-the-box.
After decades of using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as my primary creative tools, I'm ditching them.
I first discovered digital art in high school using Photoshop 1.0. From there, I kept experimenting and learning more. Through art school, I used Adobe's apps as they grew, and I grew with them. In the years I worked in animation, I used Photoshop and Illustrator less frequently. However, when I later became a professional freelance illustrator, I embraced them and became heavily steeped in Adobe's Creative Suite. It was my means to creating art.
Recently, Adobe switched their business model to a subscription service now called Creative Cloud. You subscribe to monthly access to the apps instead of purchasing them. The pros and cons of this move can be found in debates across the web.
For me, I agree with some of the arguments against it. I believe Adobe overprices themselves. The apps are bloated with features and can be slow. I've faced some serious technical issues. But mainly, I want to own the tools I use to do my most important work, not rent them. It's as simple as that.
It took research and experimentation with free trials of many apps before I settled on these two. Neither is as feature rich as Photoshop or Illustrator, but I didn't use most of what Adobe offered. In some places, Pixelmator and Sketch lack tools or shortcuts I'm used to having. However, they are not just capable apps, but in several areas offer much more efficient ways of working.
It's also a good feeling to support the underdog software developers going up against the big Adobe. I don't dislike Adobe, rather I found solutions that nowadays work better for me. Sketch in particular is such a vast departure from Illustrator, that it really shows where they've improved upon usability.
I'm just starting out but I look forward to becoming more fluent with these powerful tools. I will create great artwork with them!
I created a series of seven of posters of historic schools in and around Boulder, Colorado, commissioned as a fundraiser for the Boulder Valley School District. Each features a great, old house of learning with its inspirational architecture. All proceeds from sales will go toward the school district.
I've been pushing my poster style away from flat colors to nuanced use of gradients. I still work with the same kind of simplified shapes I've been creating for years. I merely color them differently. With advanced gradients, I can achieve a richer sense of light and depth in my art. This series gave me the opportunity to really explore this transformation of my aesthetic.
Introducing SteveLowtwait.com. With the new name of my portfolio site comes the 4th major redesign since it launched as CampSteve.com in 2002. The site's contemporary design features my artwork in full-browser/full-screen splendor. The galleries display the images larger making it easier and more fun to browse. The store is simplified with all posters on one page. And the site is more social making it easier to share art.
CampSteve was the name of my personal brand as an artist for the past twelve years. I chose it because people often find my last name complex, and I like camping. The first few versions of my site were themed like a national park camp. It was fun.
As it turned out, most people disregarded the brand and associated my name with my artwork. I experienced this when I talked with people, and I could see it in web data like search terms. Because my name is singularly unique, I decided to rebrand myself as myself.
On the evening of September 11th, heavy rain began to raise the creek level of the small mountain town I called home: Jamestown, Colorado. Over the next few days, the town was ravaged by floodwater and suffered great damage.
With my history of creating artwork to raise money after Colorado’s wildfires, I put my talent into a t-shirt design for my own beloved town. I’ve designed many t-shirts before but had never handled my own printing. I found an online company that would print and ship them at a good cost, so that all the profit can be donated to the Rebuild Jamestown Fund.
I started taking orders on my site on September 24th and they became popular right away. Thousands of dollars poured in during the first couple weeks followed by slower but steady sales. With people getting anxious for their shirts, I began the process of ordering them in late October.
As it turned out, through the printer I had chosen, I had to have California and Indiana business licenses to sell products in those states, even though I am in Colorado. I had already taken orders from people in those states. I had to find a different printing company.
Mind you, all of this happened while my family was displaced from our home, later able to return and live with limited utilities. It was while searching for a new home, packing our house to move out of Jamestown, and then move - with my wife and 10 month old baby. This wasn’t a normal move because road access to town was extremely difficult, especially for a moving truck. The move took several days and it would be several more before I could begin looking for a new shirt printer.
People who ordered were already asking for their shirts, but all I could do was apologize and honestly say that I was working on it.
The new printing company in Denver gave me a discount so even more money would go to Jamestown. But they’re not entirely set up for taking the orders the way I had done so. I had to halt taking orders so I could manually process the printing. It took time to create the shirt designs in their online system. It took days to tally my orders and figure out how many of what sizes to print. Then the shirts went into production, which took about a week. After the shirts were printed and ready in their warehouse, it took me days to manually enter the hundreds of orders individually, copying and pasting names and addresses, and double checking shirt sizes for each. Living in our new home in a state of semi-unpacked chaos, and with the laborious process regarding the printer, getting the shirts printed and shipped took well over a month. All shirts had finally shipped out by November 18th.
“Where are my shirts?”
I got this question almost daily via email. Every step took longer than I estimated. It pains me that it took this long. I hate to have strung people along. I hate not playing my best game of communication.
There were times when I didn’t have good access to the internet, or even access to my computer. There were times when I had to delay acting on the shirts because I had to figure out under what roof my family would sleep next. If I had done this fundraiser under normal life conditions, the generous people who bought shirts for Jamestown would have received them much earlier.
The shirts have been a disaster of their own.
It was worth it.
I donated $2,365 to help rebuild Jamestown, a feat I wouldn't have been able to do without creating the shirt design. It warms my heart for a town that I love. Thank you to everyone who contributed with a purchase. We made a difference.
Artistic cases are the easiest way to make your phone unique and fun. My popular Colorado art and other poster artwork are now available on cases for iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4S, and Samsung Galaxy S3.
Browse all styles here.
I've partnered with Colorado company, Shieldmans, to create their 'CampSteve Collection' because they support independent artists. And I support them as a local company making unique cases that can't be found anywhere else.
In September of 2010, the Fourmile Fire blazed through the mountains miles from my home in Boulder. It became the most destructive fire in Colorado's history. That record held until the summer of 2012 when the High Park Fire in Fort Collins claimed more damage, followed by the Waldo Canyon Fire weeks later in Colorado Springs. This year, the Black Forest Fire again in Colorado Springs was even more destructive.
When the Fourmile Fire broke out, I, like so many Boulderites, followed the fire news relentlessly. There were so many ways to help out locally, from donating to victims who lost homes, to volunteering to feed firefighters between shifts. I wanted to do something to help, but something personal that could make a difference.
I created the Fourmile Fire poster thanking firefighters on behalf of Boulder. When I posted it to Twitter and Facebook, it spread through social media like... well, you know. The response was so great, people started asking where they could buy it. People wanted to send them to firefighters. I quickly put it up for sale saying that all profits would be donated to local firefighters.
With the help of other selfless volunteers to spread the word, the effort became a local movement. Posters were distributed free to businesses to hang in their front windows. Banners were made to line the streets of downtown Boulder. We even held a parade of firefighters marching through crowds of people thanking them for saving our mountains. Tears were shed. In the end, I raised over $11,000.
Last year was a devastating year for Colorado with the two worst fires in state history. At the time, I was working for Card Gnome, a greeting card company. When the fire season turned serious, we as a company decided to help. I created three more artworks, one for the High Park Fire in Fort Collins, and one for the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. I also created a general "Colorado" one that wasn't specific to a location.
We put the images on greeting cards of which people could mail to firefighters from the internet. We also sold posters. I believe we donated about $4,000 between multiple cities.
I'd rather not create more wildfire posters because I'd rather Colorado not keep burning.
Real estate company, Mod Boulder, specializes in brokering modern homes in Colorado. I've worked with them from the beginning having designed their logo and other promotional items.
Because modern architecture varies in style, I created this new design to showcase some common types of mod homes. The architecture is important, but real estate is about finding people the right home for their lifestyle. That's what this piece is about. Visually, it comes across almost like a game, and the question forces you to think about your lifestyle and your dream home.
So tell me, what kind of modern are you?
I live in a very small mountain town - Jamestown, Colorado - near Boulder. It may be small, but we know how to party. Coming up is our annual 4th of July bash which includes a pancake breakfast, Main Street parade, games, contests, raffles, BBQ, and live music from 8:00am to 10:30pm! People come from across Colorado.
This year, I illustrated a t-shirt which will be sold to locals and visitors. Proceeds go to our volunteer fire department to help get Colorado through the fire season.
The art features the stone town hall and the historic Mercantile Cafe. I thought it'd be fun to depict the townsfolk as bears, since bears live with us here in the Rocky Mountains.
If you're nearby, head to 6,926 feet elevation this 4th of July for an all-American good time.
In celebration of their 125th year, the Geological Society of America has commissioned a symphony about the geology of Colorado. Titled 'Formations', the music is created in four movements, each reflecting a chapter of geologic history. The GSA approached me to illustrate their symphony.
Here's the catch. The music was still being written and didn't yet exist. I was to visualize music I couldn't listen to.
Luckily, the composer, Jeffrey Nytch, has created a video blog documenting his experience composing the piece. In the videos, he discusses in detail what each movement represents, the tempo of the music, and his influences for each. That was enough to get me started.
The first movement is about the formation of mountains and landscape. To depict the force of nature, I used an exaggerated perspective looking upward from within a canyon. The jaggedness of the rock texture radiating from the center is like a burst of power representing the earth's force in building mountains. Contrasting that is the quiet stream symbolizing the slower processes from which landscapes are formed.
The second movement is about the human relationship with geology, specifically the mining booms in Colorado's history. The music is fast depicting the frenzy of the gold rush. The piece is busy with movement as objects point and reach in multiple directions, indicative of how people tore up the land, built upon it and dug holes in it. The art is loud and hot in color reflecting a human/earth friction, though the rock formations remain a cool, steady blue. The railroad symbolizes the wealth of progress that came from the riches of mining, as well as the speed of the music.
The third movement is about the build up of shale from when Colorado was under an ocean 70+ million years ago. The music is slow to express the long process from which carbon becomes rock over time. I captured this with large, exposed rock walls lined with sedimentary layers of shale. In the foreground is closeup of the broken, layered shale rock. The colors of this piece are cool and still, again representing the slowness of time. It feels quiet and relaxing.
The fourth movement, the climax, is about the modern Rocky Mountains. The scene depicts a hole in a rock formation that can be seen at the Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs. Through the hole is Pike's Peak, one of Colorado's majestic "fourteeners", mountains that rise over 14,000 feet. I chose these landscapes because today's mountains are oft defined by their landmarks. The hole itself acts like a frame around the mountain, the way geology is framed by modern definitions - names and science. The hole also provides a visual sense of closure like curtains closing at the end of a symphony.
The four movements are laid out in a grid so that the art has flexibility for various uses. It'll be used in various marketing efforts, on the cover of the symphony program, and on CDs of the music. The askew angles that form the grid are similar to the way that rock naturally breaks apart.
Illustrating 'Formations' is one of the most unique and inspiring projects I've recently done. The chance to enrich another piece of art is a great honor. Now I can't wait to hear the symphony when it premiers this autumn.
There's a lively community of creative people at Dribbble.com. It's somewhat like Twitter for artists. Like many members, I use it to share progress of illustrations and designs that I'm currently working on. Sometimes I solicit feedback from the community. Sometimes I just want to share.
Lately I've been working on a poster series of historic schools in Boulder. I can't share the full finished pieces until after they are all complete, so I've only shown small details. Last Thursday night, I posted this entrance of an Art Deco school. Then I went to bed. I woke up the next morning to find it became very popular on Dribbble. Throughout Friday, it climbed to the 4th most popular image on the entire site! It was by far my best performing post which was a great feeling. Per Dribbble's algorithms, it eventually fell from grace but it saw over 1,200 views and I gained 46 new followers in less than a day.
I was commissioned to illustrate a poster of Jarrow Montessori as part of a fundraiser for the school. The oldest Montessori school in Colorado, Jarrow sits on a large property scattered with classroom buildings and outdoor play areas.
For the poster, I used an abstract perspective in order to include all the important landmarks across the long, deep property. The entrance gate and the covered walk between buildings welcomes schoolchildren and visitors. Beyond, I shift perspective as if we're looking down on the school. The sunrise in the east symbolizes the dawn of a lifetime of learning.
The poster art was "painted" on my iPad using a touch-sensitive paintbrush. This is a fairly new process for me, of which I've only done for a couple professional illustrations.
The Jarrow poster is now in the Boulder posters gallery.
There are 3 public events this month related to my artwork.
Bolder Boulder Poster Signing #1
Today is the debut of the 2013 BolderBOULDER 10k run poster! I'll be signing posters at the official race store at the 29th Street Mall.
Wednesday, April 3rd. 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
1710 29th Street. Boulder, CO 80301. Upstairs across from the movie theater.
Bolder Boulder Poster Signing #2
I'll be signing 2013 BolderBOULDER posters at the official race store at the 29th Street Mall.
Saturday, April 6th. 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon.
1710 29th Street. Boulder, CO 80301. Upstairs across from the movie theater.
Coyote Bob Comic Book Release Party
Bring your kids to meet Coyote Bob and Ranger Paula for the release of their second comic book written and illustrated by me. Come for the music and free comics!
Sunday, April 21st. 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Settler's Park - West end of Pearl St. where it meets Canyon Blvd. Boulder, Colorado.