Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Collective Update

I am so, so, so, so, SO sorry! The entire month of October flew past and here we are in November. It's Fall. There is a chill in the air. I am extremely busy with school. It has just been intense. Good, but INTENSE!

So, really, the least I can do is show some of the stuff I have worked so hard on over the past month:

My Illustration: Advertising Art class has kept me sufficiently occupied. It's almost an overwhelming feeling. We had been working on packaging designs for food and beverage items. It was a fun but challenging project, mostly because there is an element of design involved. I designed a label for a Greek-inspired salad dressing and marinade first. It was actually based off of an existing product I found online which featured the Venus statue on the bottle--Not even Greek, I might add. It's called Greek Goddess:
This is NOT the final copy of this, unfortunately, but the main focus is the art. Not extremely proud of this one, but I learned a lot from it.

I also designed a label for a bottle of Iced Indian Chai by a made up company called "Karma":
 I should mention that both of these were done in watercolor/gouache and both are sans text. With the tea label, I was dealing with subject matter that I was more familiar with and liked more, so I suppose that is the reason why I think it turned out better than the dressing label.

Also, for this class, we had to design an ad for John Fluevog's Spring 2011 shoe. John Fluevog is a shoe designer who specializes in very, very unique and flamboyant footwear. The project was based around the contest to design the actual ad for the shoe. See the details here:

This shoe--The Radio ABC Penny Loafer-- is something I would never wear, as it is a men's shoe and is not really my style anyway, but in the real world, you have to design for stuff you don't necessarily like, so it was a little life lesson as well. This is how mine turned out:

Compared to some of the others that are in the contest, mine seems kind of dull. You can really tell when I'm not feeling a project. Things just come out "blahhhh".

Then, there is Watercolor class. I truly am enjoying this class. I am almost starting to wonder why I didn't major in watercolor. I have so much passion for it. I am always happiest when I am painting. It's something I can't quite understand or explain. It just is what it is. I just love watercolor!

Our second project (After Skittles) was to paint a still life (I know...Zzzzzzzz) that included shiny, glassy, and sparkly objects. It was an interesting process, but in the end it was a winner. Our still life included a metal teapot (that I love!) that had a slightly ajar lid which made it look like it was speaking. That and the color scheme made me think of Beauty and the Beast. Perfect! I like to have some element of magic and whimsy in everything I paint so it just fit.

The illustration on the book was added by me. Unfortunately I don't have an old book of fairy tales, although that would be awesome.

Then after that we did an urban landscape project--AKA Perspective. I know it is important, but I've never been fond of it. The project was not to take an urban landscape and turn it into something completely different, but that is what I, and the rest of my class did anyway. I was thinking something oceanic and the picture reference I took of Michigan Avenue just happened to be very blue-toned, so viola! Underwater city!
 It turned out nice. Not exactly as I would have hoped, but things rarely do.

So, hopefully I should have more work up soon. I need to get into the habit of updating this more often. I do apologize again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sweet Update!

Well, it's almost been a month since I started school again and I already have some stuff to show from it.

Our first project for Watercolor II was what has been dubbed "The Chip Bag Project", but it, in no way, must include chip bags. It really only must include shiny, crinkly bags of any sort. "Why crinkly bags?", you ask? Well, the lesson this is supposed to teach is how to achieve the look of highlights and edges on something that isn't hard. When crinkly plastic is bent, it creates highlights and shadows and that look is actually quite hard to achieve in a painting. Anyway, the assignment was to go out to a store and take pictures of things that are in shiny, crinkly bags. Of course I didn't want to do chip bags. I mean, chips are wonderful, but it's been done. I'm sure candy isn't all that original either, but it was in my class...and I like candy. Candy is wonderful, sweet, magical, dreamy,'s the essence of what I want my art to be. Candy it was!

But what candy? There are so many crinkly bagged options out there. I had my sights set on some foreign candy from the World Market (which-fun fact-is my favorite store), or some delightfully glossy gummies.

But it was our weekly grocery trip to Wal Mart that turned out to be gold. I photographed a few of the 41 oz bags of Skittles and decided, almost on the spot, that I wanted to paint them. I was a little disappointed that the candy I had chosen wasn't more original, but Skittles are also classic, and happen to be very delicious as well.

This is the photo I took and chose to work from:

My main reason for choosing it was because of the sense of depth you see in the middle where the bags are parting. My instructor said that the bags looked as if they were waiting in the wings to go out onstage. I really liked that concept. Sort of an homage to Degas' ballerinas...except not really.

It took me an entire week in class and then the weekend, but I did it and I truly enjoyed the process.

The finished product. I am so proud I was able to push the darks so far. Usually, that is one of my issues. I must be doing something right.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm still around!

Sorry for the lack of updates this Summer. You know how you say you're going to do something, with every intention of doing it, and then, life happens and you find yourself regretting making any promises in the first place? Well, that is what happened. I didn't do NEARLY as much art as I would have hoped this Summer. In my defense, I did work a lot (you know, in order to actually be able to afford all the expensive supplies I need). I know that there are no excuses in this industry, though, and for that I truly am sorry.

I do plan on making it up to you, though. Hopefully that plan won't fly out the window as well.

I just started my Senior year of college at the American Academy of Art last week and I'm proud to say that I have a few pieces in the making. This semester, I'm taking Advertising Illustration, which, as the name suggests deals with illustrations made for advertisements and product design. And there is a strong design element that goes along with this class since in most adds and packaging design, there is text involved. You have to know the best spot in which to place the text, what font to use, what color the font should be...etc. I'm hoping my design skills are up to par. Bad design can ruin a good illustration.

I am also taking a Beginning Photography class. I did not choose to take it, but I'm trying to enjoy it. Yes, trying. We shall see how that goes. I'm taking it day by day.

One of the classes I was most excited for this semester was Watercolor II, my final class. I am enjoying it. I just added masking fluid to my first piece, which I will explain to you another time. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping my skills don't fail me. I want to ace this class.

So, long story short, I should be getting things rolling again soon with more updates. Just stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lorna's Impatiens

Hi there! I know it's been a while since I've blogged. But I am still alive and I am still drawing and painting. I've been working for about a month now, so I haven't had as many opportunities to do art, but I did get one last week.

I had a half day of work on Friday and my parents and I had planned to visit a family friend who is also a painter. Her name is Lorna and my dad has known her a while since she and him worked together a while back. But Lorna has a really nice garden with a lot of flowers and she likes to have afternoon tea (she grew up in New Zealand) so we decided it would be fun to visit with her, catch up, drink some tea, and for me to paint some flowers from her garden.

I should mention that this was also my first experience doing plein air watercolor painting (painting in the out-of-doors). And I thought it would be difficult, batting off bugs, dealing with the wind, and what not. But it was actually very relaxing and inspiring.

And the piece turned out nicer than I thought it would. I ended up painting impatiens, which, compared to the rest of her garden, are rather modest flowers to say the least. But I tried going sans pencil lines and everything just kind of fell into place. It's just a quick piece but I think it really embodies the way I felt while painting. We were all just sitting out on Lorna's back deck, the large tree shading us and the light breeze rolling in above the creek (yes, she has a creek in her back yard!). It was very relaxed. I plan on mailing this piece to Lorna so she can hang it up. She was very fond of it.

I showed her some of my other work and she loved it. I was very proud considering she's been painting for longer than I have been alive. It was really special to let her see my work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tea, Jammy Dodgers, and Daleks

Ok, I guess I am a full-fledged Doctor Who geek. I just can't get enough of that show. I suppose it really isn't a big surprise that I like it. It's all about magic and adventure and it's sort of a fairy tale in a way.

For the past week, I have been working on my second Doctor Who fan art. This time, just with the Eleventh Doctor. I may do one in the future with just his companion, Amy Pond, but I'm taking things one step at a time. I found out that I wouldn't be working until June, so this gave me some extra time to just mess around with my watercolors.

I decided to try and not use any line work on this one. Don't really know if I was successful in that. I still think it looks kind of messy. But then again, nothing is ever perfect in my opinion. I am, however, happy that this piece actually looks like the Eleventh doctor. I actually looked through my Doctor Who Magazine that I bought for photo references. Technically, I used photo references the last time, but I just don't think I was as into it as I was here. I came up with the pose and used my characteristic style. I think I mentioned here before that I tend to stretch figures out when I draw them. Well, in this case, that actually works because the actor who plays Doctor Who, Matt Smith, is actually a tall, lanky, clumsy (said with endearment of course) fellow. Some areas look awkward, but that almost sort of works.

But at least I got his face mostly correct. He has a very difficult face to draw. Deep-set eyes, angular jaw bone...I must have erased and re-drawn his eyes a hundred times.

And a little side note for those who don't know. Jammy Dodgers are cookies, or biscuits from England. They're like sandwich cookies with jam filling and you eat them with tea. I had no idea what they were before watching this show, but now I think I must find them. And for non-who nerds, the Daleks are the things in the sky behind The Doctor. They are his arch enemies.

Well, don't I feel even more dorky now.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Fairy of the Bleeding Hearts

Sounds a lot creepier than it actually fact, it's not really creepy at all.

Anyway, This fairy has been my project for all of last week. It was my Mother's Day gift for my mom, since she's always been my biggest fan. Isn't that true of all good moms?

I knew that for a Mother's Day gift, I wanted it to be something flowery and Springy. My mom is an avid gardener. A few weeks ago, I was out in the yard and noticed that the bleeding heart flowers were just beginning to bloom. Bleeding hearts are probably my second favorite flower, next to poppies (which are also just starting to bloom in our yard). I decided that bleeding hearts would be the basis of my painting, so I took some photos, as I like to do.

for me, and for most illustrators, I think photo references are essential! Very few people have picture dictionaries in their heads. I definitely don't. Flowers are one of the big things I like to get pictures of if I'm going to do an illustration with them in it. There are so many little details and nuances in flowers. And plus, you don't want them all to look like the same flower. Flowers, love them, love to draw and paint them, but I will agree that they are a pain in the bum!

After thinking of the flower, I thought of fairies. I used to put fairies in EVERYTHING I drew! I was so into them back in High School. Those were some of my mom's favorite drawings of mine. So I thought adding a fairy was a nice touch. Plus, she could be the Fairy of the Bleeding Hearts.

I started out with a rough sketch in my sketchbook ( I don't have a photo of that, at the moment), and then moved on to the watercolor paper. I, once again, should have used nicer paper, but surprisingly, the paper didn't warp much at all, once paint was added.  I didn't do a base coat of a wet-in-wet for this piece because it wasn't going to be covering the white of the paper completely. I believe this is it for Day 1. Doesn't look like much, eh?

Day 2, 3, and 4 combined. I fixed her face to make her a little more dainty and pixie-like. I noticed that I always draw people (or human-like characters) extremely tall and lanky. It may look stylistic, and it is, sort of, but I'd like to draw a proportionate person at some point. I think it may be due to the angle at which I view the paper when I draw.
also Day 4...added paint to the flowers...the most dreaded part. I had my picture out, studying every detail. I still think it needs a lot of work (even in it's finished state).
Day 5 painting part finished. All that's left to do is inking.
the finished product:
Of course, I altered it a little in Photoshop...just for color and lighting and cropping. The quality still bothers me. We will be getting a scanner sometime soon. And yes, my mom loved the painting!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The first fan art I've done in years

So lately, I've been really getting into Doctor Who. I think it is most definitely my new favorite show. The fifth season just started here in the US a couple weeks ago, but I believe it's been going on for a while in the UK, where the show first became popular. Anyway, it's a Sci-Fi type of show, if you are unfamiliar with it, about this character called The Doctor who travels through space and time helping people. It sounds cheesy, but trust me, it is awesome!

So last night, I started work on this piece. I probably should have stretched a piece of Arches watercolor paper, but laziness got the better of me. I looked off of some promo photos for this new season for the original sketch:

and sorry for the poor quality, I have to make do with my digital camera for now, since our scanner is broken. There will be a huge update once we get a new scanner. But anyway, I liked the sketch a lot. I like to work in a slightly exaggerated, loose semi-realistic style. The personalities of the characters (the Doctor and his companion, Amy Pond) was still not entirely believable, for me, though.

Then I added the paint and I really was liking it. I wish I could work a little tighter when I painted, though since when I'm doing a fine art painting, I don't want it to look sloppy, yet somehow it always does. I decided since it did look kind of unclean, I should add ink to it. I don't want ink to be a crutch, but I do think that since this is a fan art, slightly cartoonish illustration, ink doesn't hurt.

I'm proud of the finished product. It doesn't really look like the characters, though in my opinion. But then again, those are just the faces of the actors. These characters could really be anyone, anywhere.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Self Portrait Finished

Well, the Spring 2010 semester has officially ended at the American Academy of Art. I was actually a little sad to see it go, but I know that I'll be back there in September to start the Fall '10 semester. That's right, I've got a long summer ahead of me. That of which will hopefully be filled with artwork for me to share with you guys.

Anyway, here is my self-portrait that I did for Advanced Figure Drawing:

I rather like how it came out in the end. I think that I could have been rendered better. For some reason, I just look kind of flat. But my favorite parts of all are the shadows on the table under the still-life. I feel like I achieved the realism of those well. My classmates, during the critique, said I did a nice job of actually seeing different colors in the wall and in the table. That's one of the things I've been working on ever since I took watercolor; looking at something and not just seeing the local color, or the color something actually is. If you look hard enough, you'll notice that a red shirt isn't just red. Depending on the light, there are blues and yellows, and greens and violets mixed in there.

Also, I should show my Master Analysis (watercolor/gouache and micron pen) on here that I also did as sort of a final project for Advanced Figure Drawing:

One of my favorite artists is Alphonse Mucha, if not my top favorite. Lately, I've been so inspired by the poses that he draws and the flowyness (I guess in technical terms you could call that the Arabesque) of his compositions. My instructor suggested that I study him for my Master Analysis piece. She told me not to choose a piece that included a woman with flowers. I really don't know why she said that because, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful pieces of his include flowers or floral patterns. I would like to know what the world has against beautiful images, but that's another rant for another time (and place). So I ended up choosing this one, which I would assume was an ad for Luciline Lamps or Luciline something. It was unfinished in the book I found it in. Only a rough sketch, not colored. This gave me a lot to work with. The concept of this assignment was not to copy the work of the master, but to analyze it and get the feel of the colors, line, and composition of their work. Since my piece was not colored, I looked off of Mucha's other works for inspiration. I became frustrated at times because I started putting my own deep shadows into the piece and my instructor did not like that. Also, I was using too bright of colors. Mucha, though his pieces are colorful, used muted tones and neutral shades and very little shading. So this is in no way what the piece would have looked like, had Mucha finished it. But I ended up learning a lot. And I don't hate it. The line, once I added it in, tied everything together. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"On the Night You Were Born" Illustrations

The last project we did in Illustration was a four-week assignment to illustrate both a book jacket and two-page spread for a children's book.

My heart leapt at the opportunity! I love getting the chance to illustrate and paint something whimsical, pretty, name it.

My instructor brought in a book to inspire us and I ended up liking the idea so much, that I chose to illustrate that book. The book's title? On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman.  There isn't really a plot line or a main character, since it is a book meant for very young children. But it tells the child all of the special things that happened the night they were born. I almost wish I had that book when I was younger. The poetic imagery was fantastic, but the illustrations (a mix of what appeared to be digital, painted, photography, and collage...whew) needed some work.

I wouldn't say that my take is better, but what do you think?

jacket (cover, spine, back cover):
I'm a little disappointed with how the cliff turned out. A lot of people that I have showed this to were convinced that it was a sandy shore. How many light houses are right on the edge of a beach? They're usually slightly elevated, right? I did some photo research for that, but I still don't think it was successful. Also, the poppies do not look convincing. This is why I saw the illustration for the spread as sort of a second chance.

 I thought this piece was more successful, flora-wise. I used photo references for the poppies, purple cone flowers and ladybugs. All of which can be found in my front yard during Spring and Summer. Though my green-thumbed mother was nice enough to tell me that both of these flowers would not bloom at the same time. What can I say? I took some artistic liberties. But aside from that, the sky is bothering me. I did doctor this a little in Photoshop, but I think I should have payed more attention to the sky on the right-hand side. It's way too light.

But all in all, I really enjoyed this assignment.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Self Portrait in Progress

I have been working on my self portrait for about a week now. I've tallied my hours of work so far to be eight. That means I need at least another seven for this project to be complete. Well, obviously it needs more work. I haven't even painted myself yet, and I'm the focus of the picture!

This is the painting a few days ago, after a weekend's worth of work:

...and this is it after today:

It's pretty much just a still life, but I am happy at the way it is turning out. In my opinion, this is better than any still life I ever painted in watercolor class. But I guess if it weren't for those horrible still lifes, this one wouldn't be where it is today. And I am actually tremendously relieved that the teapot came out as well as it did (the picture doesn't really do it justice). I was terrified to paint that thing, despite it being my favorite object in the picture.

Also, I did a little color study for this self portrait a week ago, and I might as well show it. Though this is not an Illustration project, I didn't think it would hurt to figure out the colors that I would use. I tend to use bright colors in all of my work. Even if I have to paint a dark (in color or in theme) piece, I like to make it colorful somehow. I find myself going back to the technique my watercolor instructor taught me last year where you don't fully mix two colors in the palette, but mix them lightly right on the paper. It makes for more vibrant hues.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New DeviantArt Account

Please DeviantWatch me!

Yet another self portrait to add to the collection

My final project for Advanced Figure Drawing is a self portrait in an environment. I have to admit that one of my least favorite things to draw is myself. Not to mention that it is an absolutely gorgeous day here and I have trapped myself in my room with the blinds down (so as not to screw up the lighting) to paint the darn thing.

But I suppose I could say that it is going well. It already looks far better than all of my past self portraits:

from Life Drawing 102 (my first Life Drawing class at The Academy)

I don't think it looks very much like me. It didn't even look very much like me back when I actually drew it (in 2008)

Then there was this one which I did for Life Drawing for Illustrators just last year.
This one looks even worse to me. But in all fairness, I did this one in two hours! That was the point. My instructor decided to take that day off (which was the day before Halloween, if I remember correctly...I was not in costume for the school's Halloween party) and had us all come in during class time and do a quick self portrait. The lopsidedness of my eyes is really bothering me now.

When I finish the self portrait I am currently working on, I will definitely put it up here. Hopefully, within the past year progress has been made.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hello, hello!

I decided to make this blog to get myself out there. I plan on posting a lot of my artwork as soon as I have time. I am a full time student at The American Academy of Art in Chicago, working to get my BFA in Illustration. Once summer begins, I suspect I will be more productive with that.

My style tends to be very whimsical and dream like. I like to think like a child would and imagine impossible things when I draw. An instructor once told me that I have a wonderful world in my head. I would have to agree with him. That is why my illustration style, as I have been told by many, lends itself well to children's book illustration. But I do not want to be considered a one-trick-pony. I am also interested in the world of advertising and editorial illustration for magazines and other publications.

That is all for now, but stay tuned. There is much in store.