Friday, January 28, 2011

More Icons for your viewing pleasure

I've been working on a lot of icons for Advanced Illustration lately, as you might know, from a previous post.

For some reason, they've all been food-related. I think I just like food. I watch a lot of Food Network and Cooking Channel and I just can't help the fact that food is awesome. And some foods are just so pretty and/or cute that someone like me wants to draw and paint them.

So here is what I've done lately:



A teacup (surprise, surprise)

more teacups (messier ones)

a mocha...or hot chocolate. Either way, delicious.


Some of these have some thicker lines incorporated, that is a result of using a brush pen for some of the linework. My instructor suggested I do that, after showing him some of the icons. I think next week in class, I'm going to try incorporating some of these into some actual real-world uses, like on the fronts of journals, address books and recipe books.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend, I plan on doing a lot more icons. I'd also like to try incorporating this looser style into maybe some portraits or faces. I bought a Nylon magazine today and I was starting to get a little inspired to recreate some of the pretty bows, jewelry and makeup in watercolor and ink. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let down your hair!

As promised, here is the first piece I did for Advanced Illustration:

It's Repunzel, and it was meant to be a book cover or an illustration for a storybook, and also sort of a continuation of the Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose painting I did in watercolor. I had my critique on this piece in class today and we discussed that it probably would not be most fit for a book, but perhaps a poster for a play. The reason being, since her hair runs down the center of the piece. If the braid had swayed slightly more to the left, then there would be more room for type, and maybe even the painting could somehow interact with the text. My instructor also said I should have added some more contrast (I agree!) and that it was really "stupid" of me to make her hair smushed against the floor like that. he said I should have just let it sway there. I'll agree, it wasn't the best decision, but I stuck with it. Constructive criticism is never a bad thing!

But minor problems aside, I think this piece came out nice. I always have a picture in my head of exactly how I want a piece to turn out and it never comes out exactly that way (perhaps it's just the perfectionist in me), but this piece is good. I like it. Not my best, but certainly far from my worst. I truly enjoy using the walnut ink to accent certain parts of paintings. In this piece, I used it in her hair--the most important part of the piece, since it is Repunzel.

But anyway, I learned a lot from this piece...most of that, things I should not do in the future. I'm not sure yet if it deserves a spot in my final portfolio. Maybe after I make a few changes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bring on the Sweets!

So, I am two weeks into Spring 2011 semester at school and I've already done my first project for Advanced Illustration. Unfortunately, though I have no pictures or scans of it so you can't see it just yet. But I will try to get those up as soon as possible!

But, after having a chat with my instructor, we decided that a good route for me to go this semester (to strengthen my portfolio) is to do some splashy little watercolor icons. It sounds like a breeze, right, but it's not. For me, being spontaneous in my art is actually a lot more difficult than being meticulous.

We discussed these icons possibly being used on stationary, restaurant menus, greeting cards, cosmetics...etc. I could be a maven and have my own brand! That would be awesome! So, today I decided to start practicing a little bit...

It's really no secret that I have a really big sweet tooth, so cupcakes and chocolate were the first thing that came to mind when starting these. I'm in the process of thinking up more subject matter for these. My mom suggested sushi, but I would like to do more than just food--as cute as sushi would be. I told my instructor that I'd like to do a bunch of "girlie and cute" icons, because, well, I like things that are girlie and cute. I'm thinking possibly nail polish, perfume, jewelry, bows, umbrellas, and even animals might make future appearances.

When doing these pieces, I first loosely sketched them out in pencil. I did this from both memory and online photo references, then I added ink using Micron pens. That was different for me since I usually ink after the addition of watercolor, but the ink didn't run. I think I was probably just paranoid in the past that it would once water was in the equation. But it was all part of the free, go-with-the-flow experience. And it didn't run, obviously. The ink lines stayed clean and the translucent watercolor looked great over it. I tried to give each icon a bit of life and personality by painting outside of the lines, mixing colors right on the paper and adding accents outside of the drawing (like the sprinkles and hearts are jumping out of the dessert).

I'm liking how these are turning out and I'm enjoying the process of making them. What do you guys think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011- A Big Year

It seems like every time I update here, I am apologizing for not making many updates. Once again, I'm sorry! It's been two months and nothing, although a lot has happened. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but if I have to strive to make one thing better this year, it's to update more and be more on top of things art-wise. I'm not exactly lazy or unorganized, but I am busy. My art has to be one of my top--if not THE top--priorities this year. This is my last four months of school!

So anyway, Fall semester has ended. It ended a few days before Christmas last year. I was sad to see it go. I thoroughly enjoyed my classes and I feel like I learned a lot. Ended up getting a lot of good art out of it, as well. Ironically, even though I am an Illustration major, the bulk of that good work came out of my Watercolor II class.My instructor didn't push us to do a bunch of still-life paintings, which was nice and so I ended up with quite a few illustrations, done in watercolor.

Some of the ones I was most proud of:

 I titled this one Briar Rose because it tells the tale of Sleeping Beauty through the use of watercolor and collage. When discussing what I should do for my collage piece in watercolor, my instructor suggested I do something that I could see myself working with in the future. As I've said before, my style lends itself towards children's book illustration, fantasy, and fairy tales so he said I should do a book cover. Brilliant idea! I knew I wanted to do a Grimm's fairy tale, but which one. And I didn't want any trace of Disney (as awesome as Disney is). After much debate, I picked Sleeping Beauty, and decided to read the original story to help bring the piece to life. I also wanted to bring in elements of Art Nouveau because that is such an inspiration to my work. So here we have "Sleeping Beauty" or Briar Rose, which is her name, pricking her finger on the sewing spindle about to fall into a deep 100 years sleep. The string is actual string that I attached to the piece and the thorny vines along with the blue-gold space behind the spinning wheel is all tissue paper. The rest is done in watercolor and ink.

That's another thing-ink! I have developed a passion for using Walnut ink in my watercolor pieces. It gives a very deep, rich, antiqued feel to things which I believe really adds something. Also, this piece started my love of hot press paper. I will never go back to cold press. Hot press is just so much more smooth and works better with my style, I believe.

Another piece I was immensely proud of was the time machine piece:
 First of all, can I just say how incredibly excited I was after hearing this was to be our next project? I was beside myself with excitement! As you all might know, I'm a big fan of a little show called Doctor Who, which is all about time travel. Plus, what is more ambiguous and enigmatic than the idea of time-travel. Since there is no known proof of it, it is strictly up to one's imagination. I love getting to imagine things. And I will admit, our class got into an hour-long (or more) debate on what constitutes as a time machine or time travel. It was so ridiculous, but the good kind of ridiculous. I decided to just be blunt with it and design my idea of a "cool time machine", since it couldn't be the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). So here we are. It is shaped like a rusty old metal tea pot because I love tea. The teacups surrounding it are other space crafts. I drew out the machine and teacups in ink first and then blended the ink with watercolor. I really love the look. But my favorite part was doing the wet-in-wet stuff in the background. I added some salt resists for that cosmic starry look.

For our final project, it was going to be a self-portrait without ourselves in it. But no one wanted to do that. We were all fascinated with what the Watercolor I's had done for a recent project. They had to read this book called Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Look it up, it's very interesting! Anyway, it's about Marco Polo describing all these cities that he has traveled to. It is just entirely detailed descriptions of cities (in reality all the same city) making them sound fantastical and impossible. I can't describe it any other way.

 Sorry about the not so good quality, but this is basically it. Yes, it is finished. I embraced the white of the paper, I guess you could say. It was a conscious decision to do so. I wanted that feeling of emptiness surrounding the "city". This is Octavia, the spiderweb city. It is basically a city of nets and ropes suspended between two mountain peaks over a deep chasm. Scary, right? This is how I saw the city in my mind when I read the book. I don't believe it mentioned anything about floating, but I thought that added an even stronger feeling of precariousness and frailty. Such is life. Again, I used ink for the actual city part and watercolor for the rest. I like how puffy and marshmallow-like the clouds came out. It was a high note to end on.

I start Spring semester on Monday. I'm nervous, only a little excited. This is my final semester of school. I've got my fingers crossed in hopes of a great four months!