Once in awhile you gotta just do a project that is totally for you. Not a job, a "portfolio" project, just something YOU want.
Which I did. :-)
I had this iron-on sitting with my cricut supplies for over a year. I ordered it to make an awesome personalized t-shirt for my dad, but I had a bunch left over. I had no ideas for what I wanted to do with it, though, so it just sat.
But seriously, with two bookworm parents I don't see how this could be anything but entirely accurate.
In case anyone cares, I thought I'd give a few details about the process of making this image. If you don't care, well... go away.
First, sketches. I've been doodling babies for awhile (its kind of on my mind) and I've been wanting to make this shirt for awhile. I finally started experimenting with different positions and trying to find what worked best.
You can see that I chose the one on the bottom right. The bottom left one was cute too, but I wanted something that looked a bit more fetal, if that makes sense.
So I scanned it into the computer and traced it in Photoshop and cleaned it up.
I then took it into Illustrator and cleaned it up even more. Lots of cleaning.
I saved my image as an SVG so I could take it into Cricut Design Space and cut it out.
This is the video I watched to make sure I did it all right: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnQXs2Z163c
You'll notice if you look closely at the final project that I kind of messed up a bit on the "weeding" step. Specifically, I didn't get the little dimples in the baby knuckles and the lines in the ears or on the foot weeded out, so they're filled in on the final product. OOPS. I'll have to pay closer attention next time. And I really liked those cute baby knuckle dimples. My bad.
I ironed it on and--voila! Awesomest maternity shirt you ever did see.
When Rich gets home maybe I'll remember to get him to take an actual, like, good photo of me in this shirt, at an angle where you can actually see my belly (I swear I have one!). For now you get a badly lit awkward mirror shot because THAT IS WHAT I CAN DO RIGHT NOW. You're welcome.
(And no, of course we haven't taken the protective cardboard stuff off of the corners of our mirror. Why would we do that? And why would you ever take down Christmas lights anyway?)
So after posting really regularly for awhile (well, regularly for me, anyway) this blog got pretty quiet all of a sudden. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and TWO weddings in the family (my sister and sister-in-law) equal a LOT of craziness to get through. On top of that were a couple of work projects with tight deadlines, and, oh yeah… being pregnant. I can’t put my finger on how, but I swear being pregnant takes time out of your day.
But with all that going on, I did manage to get one illustration done! Come what may, we have to keep making art, right?
This is an idea that has been in the back of my head for awhile. It's more about the concept than the story. I, for one, think it would be completely awesome to have a gigantic tortoise as my main method of getting from one place to another. I feel like so many fantasy modes of transportation, from dragons to rockets, are about being the fastest and sleekest. But think about it--if you had a gigantic friendly tortoise to ride, you could take your time, read a book as you go, and just glance up at each page turn to steer or see if your stop is coming up soonish. It would be awesome.
So I'm posting AGAIN this week. I'll never be able to keep this rate of posting up, but I just have this awesome new toy that I am trying out. I finished the Lonely Dragon comic on my shiny new Tablet Monitor (much more quickly than I would have with my tablet), and then Experimented in Photoshop with my Rockwell master copy. Time to head back to my program of choice, doing my favorite kind of art--fanart. (Because really, fan art was the reason I got into illustration in the first place.)
The Last Unicorn has been on my TBR list for quite awhile, but it was only a couple weeks ago that I decided to really buckle down and read it. Since this is not a book review I won’t get into what I liked and didn’t like about it, I’ll just say this: one of the things I really liked about it was the very strong imagery. I’m an illustrator, we like things that make great images. So of course after reading any book with great imagery, my immediate first reaction is to create fanart.
I decided on creating my own book cover, so I did put some text on it. I’m no graphic designer though, so the text isn’t really my strong suit. (You’ll see in the progress photos that I changed my mind about the font halfway through.)
When this image was in my head, I felt really strongly that the outlines of the Red Bull needed to be yellow. I did not, however, want the outlines of anything ELSE to be yellow. Since I have never used more than one outline color for any of my linework-based illustrations, this piece was highly experimental in that way.
Compositionally, I wanted the image to be able to work without text, but still have the most important stuff going on within a kind of square that the text wouldn’t have to cover up. I think this worked out pretty well.
I tried my best to put text on there in a readable and attractive way, but, as I said, I'm no graphic designer.
I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I learned a lot on this piece, and tried a lot of new things.
For awhile I've had the idea in the back of my head that I wanted to do a one-page comic, which seemed a very do-able length. What kind of story could I tell in only one page, though? I thought about it for a few weeks, looking for something interesting but concise.
Then one day while I was sketching, I thought, I'll make a comic about a dragon. A lonely dragon. Why was he lonely?
This was my answer.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. There are couple little things I see on it that aren't perfect, but I'm not even sure how to fix them at this point (I've been looking at it too long). So, its finished--not perfect, but It is what it is and I am satisfied.
The intention was to have it look like it was made entirely as a linocut made with 4 color layers: Black (well, dark purple), gold, grey-green, and red. As I made it it kept reminding me really strongly of the comic Digger by Ursula Vernon, though I did not specifically intend to emulate her style. I don't know much about her process, but I think it was probably something similar to what I used here.
September is drawing to a close! Which means that October is right around the corner. Its time to get ready for Inktober!
If you don't know what Inktober is, take a look at this page: http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober
For the first time, I'm planning to do the full out, one drawing per day Inktober challenge. And to do that, I'm asking all my friends to help me out.
A few months ago, I asked for sketching prompts from all my Facebook friends and had a lot of fun with it. So, I've decided to do that again for Inktober. Here is how it will work:
Leave me a prompt in the comments to this post. Number your prompts in the order they are left--The first person to leave a prompt will number theirs with a 1, the second will use a 2, etc--that way it will be easier to keep track of how many there are. Please just leave ONE prompt. Try to keep it less than 5 words--you are not describing an illustration in detail, you are merely providing the idea that will spark my illustration.
If the 31 slots fill up before you get to leave your prompt, then you can leave one anyway and I may end up getting to it. If the 31 slots don't all get filled, then I will fill in the extra days with things I choose to draw.
Sometimes, I try new things. Sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn't.
This is one of the recent new things I tried. It turned out... OKish.
This is fanart for the book we recently finished reading, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This is the passage illustrated:
I guess its my fault for trying to illustrate a scene where the character isn't quite sure what is going on at first. Makes for an illustration where people aren't quite sure what is going on.
Ah, well. It was a fun experiment.
Most of my friends and family have heard my speech on this before. Now, its the internet's turn! As an artist, these are my thoughts/feelings/beliefs/whatever about talent.
What do you think? What other things do people dismiss as talents, without seeming to appreciate the time required?
Lately I've been giving myself "assignments" in order to fill out my portfolio. Some of those assignments have come from myself, but others have come from illustration competitions--the SCBWI Draw This! competition, Illustration Friday, and the SVS Third Thursday critique competition.
Last month, I was a sort of runner-up in the Third Thursday competition--I won a critique, but not the money toward class credit. I was happy--the critique was really what I was after. I was pretty happy because that means I get to try again! (I'm hoping for a repeat this month--a critique without the prize money. We'll see if that happens though.)
The prompt was pretty fun this time--any scene from Jack and the Beanstalk. Of course like everyone my first few ideas were of Jack climbing up or down the Beanstalk, but as I sketched thumbnails I eventually settled on this idea as my favorite.
As I was brainstorming I was also trying to think of other things that could help my illustration to be unique. I was thinking of different settings or cultures. Finally, I found the idea I was looking for--the Depression! The Jack and the Beanstalk story fits perfectly into that period. I would love to illustrate an entire version of Jack and the Beanstalk in that era... but for now, here is just the one illustration:
New Piece! It was pretty experimental and I learned a lot doing it, and I like how it turned out! I've done so much with warm color schemes lately, It was different to do something in a colder color scheme.
And I totally had this song in my head while working on it...
"I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus's garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus's garden in the shade...."
I've known about sketchup for awhile, but only yesterday did I decide to actually sit down to learn the program. Since Richard and I have been reading the Chrestomanci series together, as practice I kind of wanted to make my own version of Chrestomanci Castle. I was interested in the idea of a castle with multiple towers of different sizes, and parts that were old and new having an odd sort of mixed-era architecture.
That was the idea, anyway. This is what I came up with. It doesn't quite fit with how I imagine Chrestomanci Castle, but I had a lot of fun with it while learning the program and now I kind of want to incorporate it into some kind of story now.
Next thing to learn I think is applying textures to the walls so they actually look like they're made of stone/brick. We'll see how it goes... wish me luck!
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