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Kraggh's Works ♫♪



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Iowa Flag Redesign

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Aug 23 2016 · 356 views
Iowa, flag, vexillology and 2 more...
Iowa Flag Redesign :kaukau: The original design has the basic elements that could make for a good flag: a tricolor, and a bald eagle. I mean seriously guys, a bald eagle. Is there anything on Earth that's cooler than that? Okay, I guess that there's a legitimate case to be made for wallabies. Speaking of which, I checked, and it's legal to own one of those as a pet in Iowa, which is awesome, so maybe the flag needs a wallaby on it. But really, the bald eagle isn't so bad. You don't just look at it and think "America;" you look at it and think "'Murica!" No other state has a bald eagle so prominently featured in its flag, which makes Iowa the most 'Murican of all states. There's something awesome about seeing Old Glory flying on the flagstaff and, right underneath it, the flag of Iowa. Anyone who flies those flags must surely bleed red.

Still, the flag had "Iowa" tackily written on it in big red letters, which is inconceivably stupid. Why would it need that? A bad eagle and the French tricolor are enough to distinguish the Iowa flag from all of the other state flags, and they're mostly the only things that people remember about the flag anyway. So I did the Iowan flag a favor, and removed all writing, even that awesome motto, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."

There are some downsides to this redesign. As awesome-sauce as the eagle is, it's still complicated to draw. It isn't as complicated as it could be, because I've seen other flags and know just how complicated that it could get, but I'm seriously not interested in trying to get each and every one of its feathers right. Furthermore, the eagle on its own doesn't take up the space of the central stripe quite as well without the writing.

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The Kitilik Flag

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Aug 21 2016 · 357 views
vexillology, flag
The Kitilik Flag :kaukau: As the athletes of the 31st Olympiad walk into the stadium bearing their nation's flags, I've thought about the elements of good flags, and my attempts to design good flags according to these principles. I do a lot of worldbuilding, which includes designing flags and other symbols for the cultures of my stories. As far as flags go, this is probably my best. It follows every good design principle.




  • It's simple enough that a child can draw it from memory, and even get the exact proportions right.
  • It has meaningful symbolism. The black and white represent the absolutes of mathematics, science, and logic, which are held in high regard among Kitiliks. The colors also represent neutrality, which Kitilika consistently exorcises in international affairs. The rectangles are "reasonable" geometric shapes and represent reason. Rectangles are regularly used by Kitiliks in design, and mark a strong visual component of their culture. It bears similarity to the rectangles in an old Kitilik tactical board game, and it's also evocative of the rectangular spectacles worn by most Kitiliks. Rectangles are regularly evoked by Kitilik designers in general.
  • It sticks to two basic colors, and those colors are strongly associated with the Kitilik culture.
  • It doesn't use letters or complicated seals. If something has to put writing on it use the conventions of another art form with its own separate function, then you have failed as a flag.
  • It is a distinctive flag that can't be mistaken for any other flag.
  • It looks good in motion and at a distance, and even when viewed as a static image, it looks dynamic.
  • It's recognizable in and can be adapted for non-flag contexts.
It isn't perfect. I've encountered people who don't like the flag. Still, it's the one that I'm the most satisfied with, and I think that it fulfills all of the functions of a flag. Just as the the American flag is completely evocative of America, and the Japanese Japanese flag is completely evocative of Japan, I think that this flag is completely and quintessentially evocative of Kitilika.

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Deo et Maria

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Dec 12 2012 · 598 views

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(since the thumbnail and images in general aren't working, click here instead)

 
:kaukau: In celebration of this once-in-a-century moment,  decided to this old piece of art I pursued when I was a junior taking Independent Art.  Free to do whatever I pleased, I did nothing but large portraits of figures whose presence I found powerful, as well as various art commissions.  This one, Deo et Maria, was completed on Easter morning at my mother's house.
 
Many people assumed that, given that my mother is Catholic, this was meant for her.  It wasn't.  This was entirely for myself as a piece that would eventually be hung up on a wall in my future home, which was the objective of much of my junior year art.  I still really wish to complete another large batch of art to decorate my home someday, but this provides a worthy example of my initial run, of which I have good - if not frustrating - memories.
 
I was inspired by another picture, although I added my own details and changed a few to match a vision I had, especially the shape of the eyes.  It's not entirely original, but it still feels like my own creation because I put all that work into it.
 
In fact, doubly so.  An aunt asked if she could by it, and I turned her offer down.  Then she asked if I could draw it again, and I decided I would.  It was tough work, but I recreated the entire piece, down to every last detail.  Some people said that they were identical, although I shook my head.  The other version has a different understanding of the texture and a different approach to its awareness of light tones, and for me the difference is as clear as light and day (which is a fitting term).  I got payed two hundred dollars for the new piece, and it was a pleasure to add that to my list of firsts.
 
There are also details that viewers of my online portfolio will never see.  The detail is watered down with this scan, and the original picture was two feet tall with a lot of surface area to work with.  The outer rim of the halo was outlined with a reflective gold ink, and the trinity symbols on the shoulders used a reflective silver marker that either disappeared or popped out like supernovas depending on how the light hit them.
 
Amid a plethora of other gigantic art pieces, I entered this into a district art show.  There was a lot of good stuff, and I respected the comptetition.  The man who would later become an art professor of mine had a lot to say about a lot of the art, but to my surprise he gave this the prize for the drawing section.  I now have this nice little trophy that I was able to claim to my name during my senior year graduation party (although I still wish I could achieve other things in life, like my cousin and best friend).  The trophy doesn't mean much to me, though.  That's not something that's going to decorate my someday house.
 
Meanwhile, that is all I have to say for today.  There were plenty of oldies but goodies to choose from as I was considering what to show everyone, but this stood out because it bears a strong sense of iconography, much like my current art piece which I intend to both start and finish today in celebration of the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of the new millennium.  Wish me luck, and I will be seeing you tomorrow.
 

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That's Love!

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Nov 19 2012 · 654 views

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:kaukau: The above thumbnail links to a much larger image that counts as my first piece of artwork here in a very long time. It took about eight hours between the dates of 11/17/12 and 11/18/12. The dimensions are 11"x16". Also, while I usually listen to music while doing my art, this time around my audio diet was a bit anorexic, although I did listen to some Don McLean.

It's interesting, because even though I titled this piece "That's Love!", I never met the people who commissioned it because a third party accepted the commission for me, and I really know nothing about this couple other than that this is an engagement picture. Apparently the woman is a teacher in the middle school I used to go to, but I'm unacquainted. In hindsight, it's odd that I penciled in such a title, because I have no way of making any judgment on what sort of relationship I had. This is a picture of a hug. Anyone can hug. Calling it love was a leap of faith and an expression of my hopes. They do, after all, come from a community with strong family values, and I hope that those virtues make their way into the union between what I can only pray are two individuals of strong character. Let us all wish them a wonderful marriage.

Speaking of which, for all those unmarried people out there who are uncertain about the success of marriage in our culture today, I have good news. The figure that most marriages end in divorce is a bit misleading, because that takes into account second, third, fourth, et cetera marriages. The number of individuals who manage to marry once, get it right, and stay married, however, is in the majority. Here's to all those happy married couples.

This is also where I talk about some of my views on marriage and love, and I most certainly believe that there's a lot more to these things than heat of the moment feelings, and they don't exist for the purpose of these impassioned embraces. It works the other way around. Moments like the one you see in this picture exist for something greater, to achieve some ultimate purpose, but in the meantime, on their own they are really small. They're just works of art. These people felt it; I saw it and drew it. Two different mediums, but essentially, the same thing. We see a manifestation of something greater, something worth believing in, and deep down inside there's a faith in that idea. Aristotle talked about happiness - eudaimonia - in his Nicomachean Ethics, in which he said some very interesting things about achieving an ultimate end. These are big thoughts, too big to be expressed here, but they weigh in the back of my mind as I ponder the future of this couple.

Whatever this faith in something better is, I can simplify it in the excited exclamation "That's Love!" It's more than two people just liking each other. It's more than just a desire to cling onto something good. It's love, and even though I have no way of knowing what's in their hearts, I will be praying for these two nameless individuals out there in the real world that they may find selflessness through each other.

Also, since this picture was too big to fit on the scanner all at once, I scanned it a second time to cover the other corner so that you may see the hands. Enjoy this second link.

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Imaginative Art

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Nov 17 2012 · 247 views

:kaukau: Right now I am working on an art project. I'm getting paid $200, the dealine is tomorrow, and I naturally waited until tonight to get started.

Here's the challenge: the picture I'm working from is very blurry and you can't even see the faces of the people involved, yet I'm supposed tomake it look photorealistic in the sense that it should be high-definition. All that in one night. When I only have a blurry picture to work with and the people expect something vivid and clear, and I have never met either of them before (a third party accepted the commission for me), and I'm also to expand the picture to nine times its original size, how on Earth am I going to draw a crisp portrait?

Simple. Imagination. There are a lot of blanks here, but I know what these people should look like. I see the blurry lines and I make them solid. I see the subtle shades and I enhance them. I see things that I can emphasize to bring it out to greater life and I exploit them, such as the subtle shapes on the surface of a pair of arms as they embrace another person.

Then there's the hair. Hair is almost impossible to get wrong, but it is the longest and most intimidating process in all of drawing. If I'm drawing the curles in my grandma's 1940's hair or if I'm drawing the straight, whitish-blond hair of a younger cousin, it's all very difficult, especially given that the details of hair hardly show up in a picture, especially in the eyebrows. It doesn't always look how you think it should look, but then, with what little I see, I take a step back and imagine how it really is, and I fill in those blanks. The source material isn't forgotten, but I shift my focus so that I may know that what shows up on my empty sheet of paper is dynamic and doesn't just mimick life, but tells the story of life.

When I am done, my art will look hyper-realistic, not because it looks like a photo, but people will look at it and see what they want to see, because they, too, use their imaginations. True visionaries know the imaginations of Man and they tailor their art to work with that, although they don't compromise with the imaginations of outsiders. The artist still has his vision. The trick is seeing a portrait for what it is, not just for what's on the surface but for what's beneath the surface, and the secret to true art is faith that truth will present itself.


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Serenity

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Nov 10 2011 · 215 views
art
:kaukau:This was a picture I drew up when I was a freshman. It's name at the time was "Serenity", which not creative of me, but on the other hand it did describe the exact impression that the art piece gave me. Meanwhile, I'm not a fan of going back and renaming portraits, and I try not to get too unusual with the names.

"Serenity" was created using India ink and a style known as cross hatching. My intention with the portrait was to catch a calm, serene image of an animal and emphasize it by providing a contrasting background filled with motion. I accomplished this by alternating between cross-hatching styles to create differing patterns. Everything about the tigress is circular, but the background is all straight lines and angular. This angular zigzagging pattern is a repetitious motiff in much of my artwork and I have used it in several backgrounds whenever I have desired certain effects. "Serenity" is only the second use of the zigzagging pattern, and the first time it was used as a background.

Basically, I lost this picture after it was turned in and no one rediscovered it until recently. Until then, this portrait was the source of a constant running joke with my art teacher, as I constantly referenced it as the one true tragedy in my art experience. It was a joyous occassion once it was discovered again.

Linked due to being over 500kb.-Nukaya

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh


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What Is Art?

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art Oct 18 2011 · 236 views
Art, Philosophy
:kaukau:Perhaps art can be partially defined as sentient effort to make any given surroundings more aesthetically pleasing.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh


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Tod Vor Augen

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art, School Sep 28 2009 · 305 views
School
Posted Image

:kaukau: This is a drawing I did in painting class. I call it a drawing, the teacher calls it a painting. This was made from these weird little things called "water color pencils", in which you draw with a color pencil and then paint over it with a wet brush so that it looks slightly different in the end. I don't know why we did something like this in painting. It doesn't even use any skills used in painting.

The theme that we were drawing to was Georgia O'Keefe. She's known for her flowers, but I got the teacher on a technicality that Georgia also did paintings of bones, thus I could go about doing something interesting, like this. I'm much more accustomed to drawing facial portraits, and this worked enough as one.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit, the blue in the background was an eyesore. What was I thinking? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now...I really should have gone with brown around the corners.

By the way, here's what the picture looked like before it was watered over.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh



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Xρυσός

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art, Michael Phelps Sep 04 2009 · 284 views
Michael Phelps
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This is the first drawing I ever took seriously, done in mid-2008. Looking back, I can't help but cringe. I didn't use a grid system, so it's somewhat lopsided, especially the ears. On the other hand, I measured it afterwords and found that its dimensions were exactly 50% greater than the original picture, which was the cover to a Sports Illustrated magazine completely dedicated to him.

But it's Michael Phelps, so that automatically qualifies it as awesome.

Live long and prosper.


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Number Eight

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Art, School Feb 11 2009 · 223 views
School
:kaukau: This is a drawing I did in art class with charcoal. The dimensions are 10"x12". Please note that the picture was too large for the scanner and a small portion of his right shoulder was cut off. It is a scaled up version of a picture half its size. The name of the person is Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), the eighth president of the United States (1837-1841). The title of the portrait is "Number Eight". (EDIT: this has recently been changed to "Old Marty")

On a side note, he looks like my old track coach.


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Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh







Me

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Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: N/A
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, 25% Hungarian, 12.5% Swedish, 6.25% German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Smallville & Arthur the Friendly Aardvark
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, politics, drawing
Political party: Republican
Religion: Christian
Language: Not English, but American.

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