Friday, June 29, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe PART 4

So besides the Harry Potter Studio Tour, here are a few of the other places I've been to. We have classes Monday through Thursday and we usually go somewhere in town to draw and to a park to paint (I'll put my first week's sketches and painting up soon). Aside from that, we usually get the rest of the day to go where we want, explore, etc. and on the weekends we will usually take a group trip to somewhere new.  

Our first weekend we went to Portobello Road (anybody have the Bedknobs and Broomsticks song stuck in your head now?), a huge outdoor market on one long street.

For our sketch class we went to Westminster Abbey this week - it's a huge cathedral/church still being used by the Anglican church. I'd have a separate post for it with pictures if they didn't have some stupid rule about not taking photos inside. So instead you'll just have to use your imagination and think of the most glorified mausoleum you possible can, decorated with all sorts of medieval graves and coffins, banners, swords, engravings, statues, sculptures, and surrounded by Gothic architecture. Many members of the royal family are buried inside as well as numerous famous Britons: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin (I stepped on his grave), George Frederick Handel, Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling, Laurence Olivier, and Charles Dickens. There's a monument to Shakespeare as well, but it's not actually where he's buried. We stayed there for the Evensong where the church choir comes and sings/chants during an Anglican prayer service. It's hard to describe  the feeling of listening to the "Olde" English prayer chanting while sitting inside a massive cathedral - staring up into the archways and at the stained glass paintings and religious sculpture - it was unreal.

There I am just chilling on the bridge right outside British Parliament and Big Ben

And on Sunday we went to go see the developments on construction for the Olympics that will take place just after we leave (thank goodness...). I'm glad we won't be here when all of that crazy tourism flares up, it's busy enough in London as it is. The tower behind me is some sort of... "art"sy tower they built just for the Olympics. Some people say it's supposed to be the British Eiffel Tower, others say it looks like an awkward roller coaster, and I think it's kind of gimmicky and would maybe have gone with different colors other than red railing. Far to the right (and not seen in the photo) is a huge International Mall that was built pretty much just for the Olympics. It's not bad. But also kind of gimmicky. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe PART 3

Harry Potter Studio Tour part II:

Snape's classroom! Some of the spoons in the cauldrons were stirring themselves too and changing colors.

Oh snap! I found the Chamber of Secrets!

This was one of the coolest parts of the whole tour - the Magic Is Might Statue from the Ministry of Magic scenes. It really was a masterpiece, even if it isn't made from real stone.

Getting up close to the statue was incredible - each figure was detailed and being crushed in anguish. I swear, I must've walked around the whole thing several times just to make sure I looked at every muggle under the slab.

Professor Umbridge's outfits from the 5th movie! I found out that throughout the movie, her outfits got progressively pinker as she rose in power.

The tapestry for the Black family tree - you might not be able to see it, but the name right under that burnt part in the upper left corner is Sirius'. The middle bottom is Lucius and Narcissa and the bottom right is Draco's spot. Just above Draco's on the banner without a portrait near the middle is Bellatrix's name.

The giant chess pieces from the first movie!

Didn't know this either, but I guess in a ton of shots Hagrid's head is actually an animatronic face mounted on a large stand-in actor...


The head of the Hungarian Horntail

And at the very end of the tour they had THE Hogwarts castle in all of its modeled glory... It took them 40-some weeks to set up the whole castle inside the room of the studio tour. This thing was fantastically huge and breath-takingly beautiful. You could walk around the whole model on a spiral walkway and see every spire, every tree, every window. They had screens where you could see the shots they would take with the castle in front of a green screen, where they matched it up with shots of water (for the Black Lake) and/or the actors for those zoom-out shots of them walking around the castle.

The lighting would change between daytime brights and nighttime blues and they whole time they played this inspiring music in the background that made you want to cry... because you were seeing the actual Hogwarts. I gotta say, this was the icing on the cake and the part that totally blew me away after everything else that I had seen.

After the castle, the only room left of the tour was the inside of Olivander's Wand Shop where they had thousands of the hand-decorated wand boxes stacked with names of the studio employees that had worked on the movie during the last decade. In the middle was a screen that said this: "The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." - J.K. Rowling.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe PART 2

More from the first week in London: My visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour! Are you ready to have your mind blown by how jealous you're about to be? The tour isn't another theme park - its a studio full of legit props, sets, costumes, animatronics, and artwork used in and for making the 8 Harry Potter movies. Just about everything in there was on film.
 Here I am outside and full of gross expectations.
 Here's my ticket - some had Fang the bloodhound or Fawkes the Pheonix. Mine had Hedwig.
We watched a short introductory movie where Daniel Radcliff, Emma Wattson, and Rupert Grimley hyped everyone up and then the curtain lifted to reveal this: the door to the Great Hall!
 Inside the actual Great Hall: You can see on the walls there are alternating Ravens, Lions, Badgers, and Serpents holding torches.
 I am in front of the Hogwarts staffs' mannequins with their original costumes. You can't see them in this photo, but Sprout, Flitwick, and Hagrid are also there. My face: pure content.
This is the sculpture from the Yule ball surrounded by tons of different colored drinks. The photo does not do it justice. This thing *sparkled*.
This is Snape's hair. 'Nuff said.
 This is Harry's dorm...
 And the Griffyndor common room...
 And now I'm standing next to THE Triwizard Cup.
 Dumbledore's office (and you wouldn't believe all the stuff they have in there - tons and tons of crazy looking props!)
A bunch of the most important props in the movies: The Sorcerer's Stone, The Deluminator, a Snitch...

More pictures coming in part 3! There are way too many to post here right now...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe!

This is it boys and girls - I'm finally in London! Thanks to many, many sacrifices by my parents, donors, and others, I've finally landed in the UK to start my summer abroad on the other side of the planet. Here are a few photos from our first full day in London where we took tours around the city mostly by bus and a little by boat.

Here I am with Craig, one of the two other males on the trip. Yeah, there are only three of us guys. We're standing in front of the Kensington Palace, the future home of  William and Kate. The area is still available to the public at the moment... but not for long.

Had to take a picture of Big Ben.

Apparently, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Queen's reign over England. They call it her "Diamond Jubilee" and the celebration lasts pretty much the entire year. They threw up this enormous picture over the side of a building of her from a couple decades back.

This is us on the boat tour. No, its not because I'm attractive, it's because I'm literally the only guy there.

Downtown London: I wanted a picture of me in the middle of the city, so I give the camera to one of the girls and she's about to take the picture when this bald guy comes up from behind, puts his arm around me, and goes "Yeaaah!" and then as soon as the picture is taken, he walks off! Never saw him before, never saw him again.

Stay tuned for more pictures, more stories, and my report on the Warner Brother's Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jocelyn's ship

This was my final project for the oil painting class I took this past winter semester. The model is a friend of mine and I just got done creating a print for her mom. $60 for a school assignment? Awesome.