Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Trip to the Zoo

It's been snowing profusely here all morning, rendering any real travel around pretty much moot. So, now that I don't really have any other excuse, I'm going to update this thing. It's been a little while.

So, this last Saturday, I went on a trip to the zoo with Joe'e Moon, a good friend of mine. Drawing animals is a pretty useful skill to have for someone in my line of work, and its always more fun to draw from the real thing. The local zoo isn't really all that local, so I am only able to get there every so often, and it's always a treat when I do.

This particular time, due to the snow, we found the zoo pretty much abandoned. There wasn't even a ticket taker at the front. We bought our ticket and just kind of walked in. I'll admit, it was a tad unnerving. I was beginning to suspect the zoo was actually closed, and by some fluke we had managed to sneak in. Then I saw a man and his son. I felt better. Anyway, it was really neat to have the place more or less to ourselves.

Due to the cold, I was expecting the animals to be somewhat lethargic. On the contrary, they were all very active, which made for some great drawing. One in particular comes to mind, a very show off-y otter. He swam back and forth doing barrel rolls and other tricks for a crazy long time. Punk.

Here are a few photos from the trip, as well as a couple of the resulting drawings.

Me and Joe'e

The aforementioned showoff

No, a child did not actually fall in the otter habitat.

In other news, check out this feature, written by the impossibly amazing Julie Danielson! Thanks to her for the great article!
And now, I'm off to throw snowballs at passersby.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In which the artist is under Suspicion

Today I went off on a little field trip to my local library, specifically the kids section. I've been pretty darn busy recently, and haven't had as much time as I would like to to find new illustrators, stories, techniques, stuff like that. So, today was the day.
I was looking at the illustrations of a certain book ("Dancing to Freedom," with illustrations by Anne Spudvilas. Beautiful), when I heard a small, mouse-like noise to my left. I turned and saw a small boy staring at me, all wide eyed. I have him a polite smile, to which he responded with a classic look of terror at being discovered and scurried off to the back of the room where his mom and brother were. I went back to my book.
I'm sort of used to being met with looks of panic on these trips. Being 6' 5" with "crazy eyebrows" (quote from kid in past bookstore trip) in picture book sections tends to attract some weird looks. Interestingly enough, most panic looks aren't from the kids. It's from their parents.
Now, I totally respect the whole protective parent thing. Good parents are hard to come by. But seriously, I don't think I really give off the crazy vibe (apart from the eyebrows, apparently).
One of my favorite stories takes place during a trip to Barnes and Noble. I was looking through the award winner picture books when someone spoke.
"Ah-herm," someone said insistently.
Someone turned out to be a middle aged looking woman with a look of contained suspicion on her face. Behind here, looking at other picture books, was a young girl I could only assume was her daughter. She was ingnoring the both of us fantastically.
"May I help you?" the woman said.
I looked for her name tag. It wasn't there. Definatley not an employee.
"Um, no, thank you," I said.
"You're in the kid's section," She said, a tad aburptly.
"Yeah," I replied, a little confused as to what was going on. "I'm looking for some new picture books."
"You got a kid?"
"Um, no."
At this point she just stared at me, waiting for me to elaborate. I decided she wasn't wanting an explanation about my childless-ness. I explained I wanted to be an illustrator, at which she gave me a very skeptical look. It took a little convincing (I had to show her my sketchbook), but at last she went back to protecting her cub. I tried to go back to my purusing, but could feel the angry momma-bears glare boring into the back of my head. I took a lap around the bookstore and waited for her to move on. She did. And I got a new book. Yay.
Anyway, for actual news, my website if finally done! Check it out folks, tell me what you think. ethanaldridge.weebly.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Update and a nice Game of Chess

Hey Folks!

Fall has officially moved in here and I'm loving it. I'm happy to say that the "Autumn" piece has sold. For those people that would still like to own some sweet art, fret not. The only store is being worked on as I type (not entirely true. After all, I can't do both). It will feature several original art pieces, prints, and hand made toys. One of the pieces you can expect to be on there is this fella here. A pen and ink illustration that was a blast to do. I'm not particularly knowledgeable at chess myself, but I would say the bloke with the hat is winning.
So, on other fronts, I have several pieces in process that I hope to be able to share with you all soon. Also, I am constructing an actual, honest to goodness website, which I am very excited about. I will post the link just as soon as I'm done.
Also, I am working on designs for several picture books. I don't want to give too much away (wouldn't want to spoil the surprise), and they are still in early conceptual stages. However, as a wee teaser, the story I am the most excited about (currently) features a small boy and his highly unusual and possibly imaginary friend. If you feel like you've heard this one before, just wait. This will be fun.
In conclusion, I think it interesting to note that I totally saw a kid lick his nose today. No joke. I didn't know that was even possible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Piece of Autumn

Here is a little process post to celebrate the coming season. Enjoy
This piece, like so many others, started as an unasuming little doodle in my sketchbook. I do dozens of these things a week, and most never really go anywhere. Every so often, however, a couple will stand out. This was one of those

Once I decide I like a design, I will develop it out for awhile. Very, very rarely is a sketch ready to make the jump to finished product right off the bat. I try different faces, gestures, clothes, hairdues, granola (kidding. kind of), compostions, etc.

Once I settle on a version, I will do a base drawing. That drawing is then traced, in this case on to basic watercolor paper. The tracing helps to eliminate search lines, making for a much cleaner final piece. I then apply ink to the areas that need it. You'll notice that some of the lines are thicker than others. This help to bring those parts of the picture forward, adding a greater sense of depth.

From there, it's only a matter of applying the color. This one was done with watercolor.
Voila! Hope you found this interesting. For those interested in buying the piece, it is going for $90. Just send me an email at almostethan@yahoo.com. Title the email "Autumn," if you would. Include your name and how to best contact you. We can set up shipping and all that fun stuff. On a related note, I will have an online shop set up soon to sell more pictures, as well as made-to-order handmade toys, so keep an eye out for that.
Enjoy the weather!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A thought on Sketchbooks.

I love sketchbooks. I don't think I've left my house without one since I was in middle school. Which used to be sort of inconvenient; when I started keeping a sketchbook I used ones that were roughly the size of a textbook. Recently, I've wisened up a bit and have been using those wallet sized moleskin's.
Unfortunately, I have a good number of bad habits associated with my sketchbooks. I am a little too self conscious about the stuff I put in them, being fully aware that people will ask to look at them. The advantage of keeping a sketchbook is you have a creative space to work in free from the pressures of having a "polished" piece, something that can be exhibited. Sketchbooks, for me,  represent a return to that sort of  stream of consciousness drawing we did when we were kids. At least, I believe it should be.But then you have this scenario:
Person: What do you do?
You: I'm an artist.
Person: Oh, cool. Do you have a sketchbook? May I see it?
(They flip through the book, seeing a couple recognizable drawings, most of it meaningless scribbles)
Worrying about stuff like this, though, seems to get in the way of the creative process. It's important to have a pressure free space to work in. It helps the finished work become more sincere. It is important to have a space to practice your craft with wild abandon, somewhere where fear a failure does not inhibit your ability to just get down and work. Whenever my dad, an artist himself, would look at one of my drawings, he would nod approvingly and say something to the effect of  "That's great, son. Do about 5000 more of those and you'll be about right."

The moral of the story; draw. A lot. No matter what.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Some proofs for a print I am working on. The final will be posted soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Some older stuff

Here are a couple of excerpts from my sketchbooks. The first two are studies of people on the NYC subway system (I lived in NYC for the past two years). The third is just one of many little visual ideas that pop into my head throughout the day. I call him the Chameleon Kid.

Also, a brightly colored jellyfish I crocheted. You're welcome.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Cursory Introduction


I am fairly new to this whole blogging thing. I have been informed by some very "with it" friends of mine that all artists need a good website. I decided to take their advice, realizing soon afterwards that I was too un-tech savvy to build a website/currently too poor for one. So, to Blogger it is!

My name is Ethan Aldridge, and I fancy myself a storyteller. I generally tell said stories (for better or for worse) through pictures, which I will hopefully be able to figure out how to post. The stories I enjoy telling don't always make complete sense, though I expect in time they will. I think most stories in life are like that.

Well, there it is. My first post. That was exhausting. I off to a nap.