Monday, September 30, 2013

40 days of lettering...lucky day 13!

Who says the number 13 isn't lucky? I've never been superstitious about it, but it sure lent itself to a theme for the day. Obviously (hopefully), you can see that I tried to tie in various luck symbols. I don't know much about lucky cats or their origin, but they seemed to be a natural fit with this. I tried to do a slightly looser lettering feel especially for "MAKE." I used the pencil tool here for a rougher edge. This is the kind of doodled design that is difficult to know just when to stop. I just kept adding little curly q's, etc. Hopefully I stopped in time before it got too busy! Good luck with the rest of your day!!

Looking for more interesting blogs? Check these out blog parade  A group of my fellow classmates (organized by the lovely Linda Tieu) from the Make Art that Sells course, are participating on a monthly blog hop. Part B of Lilla's course starts next week! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

40 days of lettering... day 12

Let's face it... we've all been there. If you work anywhere in a creative field, it's that sinking feeling you first get when given a new project. What the heck am I going to do?! Hopefully, once you sit down and hash it out, you eventually come up with some ideas but that inevitable first stage of nothingness never seems to go away, at least for me. Actually, back when I worked at Hasbro, I had this same quote pinned to my bulletin board. It was a panel from a G.I. Joe comic book, with "Joe" asking one of his underlings this very question. The poor private had this same dumbfounded look on his face. 

I tried to work a bit more quickly on this one and worked pretty much all using the pencil tool to give it a looser, more graphic look. I also tried to limit my colors, somewhat successfully, at least for me ;) Well, here's to an abundance of good ideas! (and at least 28 more for me...)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

40 days of lettering... day 11

Actually, I never really liked twinkies all that much anyway. I mean, if there's no chocolate involved, what's the point? But anything involving a chocolate/peanut butter combo is a winner to me, so no surprise, funny bones were a personal have, alongside ring dings of course. I actually used to skip lunch, save my lunch money, and buy this junk on my way home after school...ahhh, the good old days ;)

For this exercise, I tried to do a style reminiscent of the old double bubble tiny comic inserts... a little bit of dot gain and poor registration. I also tried to limit the colors for more of a retro feel, which is always tough for me. I like doing pieces like this and trying to make the different type elements all fit together like a puzzle.

So, did I make you hungry? Go treat yourself to a ho ho/ding dong... it's on the house ;)

Monday, September 23, 2013

40 days of lettering... day 10

I may have gotten a little carried away today. I found this quote from "Alice in Wonderland" that I really liked and I instantly knew that I wanted to incorporate the cheshire cat and his wide grin in a tree alongside the type treatment. For some reason, this kind of graphic look just seemed to lend itself to a book cover, so I decided to turn it into a possible sequel to Alice's original adventure. Who wouldn't want to go back to wonderland, anyway? I then took the opportunity to add the white rabbit, since, well, I really like bunnies in general, so throwing him in the mix was a no brainer. I wasn't going to include the cat's eyes, or at least both of one point, I had a cat eye in the hole of the "A" in "mad" but there really isn't a cyclops kitty in the story, so I moved some things around and fit in the requisite two eyeballs. Besides, I really liked how the green eyes looked and popped against all the purple. 

Well, I'm officially one quarter finished with this little project! I think I may need to simplify my efforts here, but this was a fun one :D

Saturday, September 21, 2013

40 days of 9

Today, I tried to loosen it up a bit more (something I struggle with...) but trying to achieve a brushier overall look. Most people would just pick up a paint brush and a bottle of ink, but no! Not me, haha. I remain steadfast, for better or worse, in my dedication to pure vectors. Ok, so maybe it's more like I'm afraid of picking up a paintbrush, but don't tell anyone ;) I first penciled all this script, then redrew the more straightforward letters with the pen tool. The looser letters (like fairy) were essentially done using an ink brush with my trusty wireless mouse within illustrator. I then added a few highlights to help mimic actual paint a bit more. 

I stumbled upon this quote on the packaging for one of my daughter's hair accessories, and I knew I wanted to use it. Actually, the quote began with, "If I'm honest, I have to tell you..." I chose to edit it down a bit, but I have to agree with Audrey on this one.

illustration friday... together, plus day 8 of 40 days of lettering

That's right, I'm killing two birds with one stone. I hadn't done an illustration Friday topic for a couple months. When I saw this week's word, it seemed simple enough to treat it as lettering (which is often my fallback approach to these). I struggled a lot with this lettering, color-wise, treatment, etc. I'm still not sure I like it, but I was well over my self imposed time limit of an hour, so I called it done. Not sure why I ended up with another circular design, but I do like that it is a bit looser than some of the lettering I had been doing. Happy weekend!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

40 days of 7

Here's a little play off of the "Life is Good" brand. If only I could come up with something that is a hundredth as successful as that! This was once again, my not so successful attempt at a limited palette :/ Sometimes, I just can't help myself when it comes to color. I knew I wanted to end up with a circular layout, so the accordion kind of worked well for rounding up the bottom as a border of sorts. I sketched any number of kids/animals to be playing it...from squirrels to bears, bunnies, etc. but ended up with the newspaper hat wearing cat (who seems to have exceptionally long front legs). I also used some water color brushes in illustrator for a more hand drawn look. Have fun out there!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

pretty little maids pattern collection

A few days ago,  I showed you my little maids. I don't think I ever worked on a project for a longer period of time. I really started this during Lilla Rogers' class during her last week that focused on the gift market. The original assignment was to create a zippered pouch based on a current fashion trend of hyper lush, inkblot designs, as well as to incorporate imagery from something we collect. I have no shortage of collections, but I decided to focus on a Christmas theme, and used some German wooden flowers, putz houses and characters based on my German smokers. I had a lot of fun with it, which was the whole idea. I knew that I wanted to expand this into a fabric collection, using the little girl. Drawing more girls was the fun part, but I took the longest time trying to figure out what to do with them pattern-wise. Ultimately, I tried to keep it somewhat simple (something I struggle with...), letting them be the stars. In the end, it looks more scandinavian folk art looking than Christmas, but that's ok. I am glad to have this off the back burner! I still like the little elves and am considering more possibilities using them along with a house pattern with deer and flower coordinates? What can I say, I love Christmas!

My original pouch design, using photos of shaved wooden trees, 

plastic deer, a vinyl tablecloth pic for the "snow,"

German flowers, and 60's plastic snowflake decorations. 
A real mishmash!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

40 days of 6

Ok, so maybe I am a prototypical artist. No surprise, I hated math in school. Not that I did terrible at it, but I sure had to work at it and I knew that I would never work in a profession that required any sort of  mathematical mastery, so what was the point? I have an accountant friend, who understandably, loves numbers. I can respect that. But honestly, I will never get it. I guess what I really object to is the sheer amount of utmost respect it gets within our schools, at the expense of the arts. In our own town, they have implemented what they are calling curriculum "collaboration," in which core subjects are introduced and covered in non-core classrooms. The example given was that during art class, the art teacher would be touching on any artistic references to the current history curriculum. Ummmmm, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that would be called art history, not hands on art or drawing. I'm wondering if the math classes were asked to make the same sort of concessions, hmmmmmm.

Anyway, back on track and off my high artistic horse, this was a fun one to do since I managed to stay away from my usual sugary sweet style. I've been trying to do these fairly quickly, so it's far from perfect, geometrically speaking. Oh, geometrics=geometry?! Ooops, guess I should have paid a little more attention in class ;)

Monday, September 16, 2013

pretty little maids all in a row

This is a story about the best Gramma that ever was. As I've mentioned before, I grew up in a sleepy little town in north central Pennsylvania, far from Amish country, Philadelphia, Pittsburg or all of the parts of Pennsylvania one usually associates with the state. We had 5 kids and my parents were lucky enough to live right next door to my Gramma (note:  "Gramma"not "grandma"...central Pennsylvania regional term). She was everything you could ever want a gramma to be. She was fun, smart, made the best chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream ever, loved to read to us, made all her own dolls, put out a spectacular Christmas display that filled the entire dining room, and played a great game of dominoes (no card games for her as that was considered a form of gambling ;) I was free to go over to her house whenever I wanted. She had a little corner of her kitchen that was meant for me, filled with dolls that she had saved from the dump, reconstructed, and fully outfitted with her own handmade clothes and knitted booties. She made tables and chairs for them out of cardboard oatmeal canister containers that she painted a wonderful shade of green porch enamel. She was as thrifty as they come. When I was back at my home over the summer, I discovered some little paper dolls that she had made up in our attic. This was so typical of her. By the looks of it, she had cut them out of a magazine and pasted them on cereal box cardboard, carefully cut them out, made little stands and of course, labeled them on their backs with what country they were from. Every thing she touched, she made special. When I saw these once again, I was inspired to do my own little versions. Some are a little closer in style to the originals than others and I wouldn't say that I kept them in true international costume, but I hope she would have liked them. I also used them to put together a little pattern collection that I will show to you tomorrow.

I'm the imp to the right of Gramma
along with my sister and brother.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

40 days of 5

So, I don't know about you, but cupcakes were just about my favorite dessert or even a snack, loooong before the current cupcake craze started. Not that I am complaining about their sudden popularity. Short of Sprinkles, which still has not made it to the Boston area, my fave shops would have to be Rosie's (in Chestnut Hill) or Georgetown Cupcakes on Newbury Street in Boston. The latter can't be beat for its sheer variety, but it's hard to top the pure buttercream experience of Rosie's simple, but rich chocolate cake. Cupcakes, when done right, are the perfect ratio of cake to icing and are able to be consumed without utensils or plates! What could be more handy?! Now that I've got you hungry, what is your favorite variety and bakery?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

40 days of lettering, day 4...Keep calm!!

I keep seeing so many versions of the "keep calm and..." phrase and decided to do my own little take on it. Actually, I googled and learned that it was actually a WW2 British public safety poster series that was discovered in a British book shop back in 2000. You can learn a bit more of the history of it here... link. It has become a meme for poster and t-shirt artists ever since. 

In this series, I'm making an attempt to limit the number of colors...always tough for me to do but I think it is good practice. Besides, I simply love mid century illustration that often limits colors to 2-3 total. In retrospect, this isn't a whole lot of cool, crazy lettering...pretty simple. I'll try to up the ante on the lettering focus on my next few versions, but this was one I just had to try! Carry an and keep calm! zzzzzzzz.....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

thanks for all the support!!

Well, today was the big reveal, when the 6 finalists for the Global Talent Search were finally revealed and I didn't make the cut. Understand that I never thought I would get as far as I did in the first place and held no illusions of making it further. The competition was so great and was chock full of artists with truly impressive licensing portfolios. But dreams are a funny thing. Even though you always think you have one foot in reality and are confident that you can handle any outcome, they get in your head! I in no way feel defeated, just a bit down that this one was not meant to be. But the awesome part was that I was supported by so many wonderful people that I actually managed to meet my goal of getting over a 100 votes! Around 125 and I don't think I know that many people, so my deepest thanks to everyone who took the time to cast a vote. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with clicking requests, for someone to actually follow through to support my work is appreciated more than you could know.

The other great thing about dreams? There's always another, often even better one right around the corner! Best of luck and good wishes to all the finalists, most of which were my classmates in MATS. Back to work ;)

P.S. in an effort to keep the ball rolling on my 40 days of lettering project, this will serve as day 3!

Monday, September 9, 2013

40 days of lettering... day 2

I read this line somewhere and just had to laugh out loud, it's so true. How many times have you had,  what you thought of at the moment, was the most awesome brill idea ever only to realize the next day that you hate it? Maybe it's just part of the life of someone in the creative field, but it happens to me all the time! Ahhh.... on to day three tomorrow (hopefully unless I get a better idea ;)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search 2013... VOTE!!

Well folks, you have until Monday, September 9th to cast your votes in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition. An artist's life depends on it! Ok maybe that's a little dramatic, but it certainly will change the life of whoever ends up winning. Yours truly would of course be extremely appreciative and thankful for any support, but beyond that, please take a minute and click on over there to see some wonderful work. 50 artists have worked very hard to make it this far and it's worth the look, no matter who you decide to cast your votes for. Being the helpful person I am, here's a convenient link. Be sure to check em all out (especially the third row down, third from left....haha) Enjoy!

more mushrooms?!

I've never thought of myself as a surface designer, but I do enjoy futzing (is that a word?) around with patterns and making up coordinates. The main pattern above is one I did a few months back for Lilla's class. I ended up going with a different design, but I still kinda liked the color combo of this one, so I thought I would design a few coordinating pieces and voila... duchy mushrooms! Actually, I despise mushrooms, eating wise, but it was part of the original assignment and they do have a lot of interesting shapes. The "dutchy" reference is to my attempt to include a Pennsylvania dutch feel with the modified hex sign background pattern.

Hey, BTW... have you voted (for me...) in the Global Talent Search contest yet? Here's the link. Ahhh, I am so helpful and subtle ;) Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search ...Round 2!

After what seems like an eternity, the second round of the GTS has gone live and is up for public vote! 50 lucky semifinalists, of which I am extremely fortunate to be a part of, worked on a brief to design a fall tote bag. The topic was completely open ended, as well as the targeted audience. The only parameters were that it pertain to nature in some way and it was suggested that we include people and hand lettering. I don't regard suggestions like that from Lilla Rogers as optional, so I began my thinking on those lines.

I knew from the get go, that I wanted to have some sort of an apple theme. You see, I grew up in a tiny town in north central Pennsylvania. My dad ran a small family owned sawmill and had a love for trees in general. Rather late in life, he took up a new hobby... apple trees! Before too long we had an orchard of around 100 trees in our downtown backyard. Some hobby! Dad was a natural born salesman and loved to sell them to neighbors and folks passing by (alongside his own cider) in our front yard on main street. No, I am not kidding...main street USA! Talk about all American apple pie stuff! "Mighty good" is a phrase he would typically use when describing something he really liked. If you look closely, you can see a little ranch house off in the distance. This is pretty much how the house looked and yes, it even had a pink gable and window box! Dad liked to call it a little bungalow. This was kind of a therapeutic project for me as my brothers and sister and I are in the process of emptying out the house after my mom passed away in April. So many happy memories as it was the only home we ever knew! We were all blessed with happy childhoods and the best parents any kids could ever hope for.

Here is dad out in front of the house on the 4th of July
watching the parade go by! I'm not much of a caricature artist,
but you get the idea ;)

Anyway, once I had the orchard idea, I also wanted to incorporate a vintage fruit crate label feel, hence the lettering and the little apple mascot dude. I had thoughts of trying to put a Pennsylvania dutch folk art vibe to it, but really, there is only so much you can put in one piece. The little border treatment on the bottom was an ode to that look with the intention of it being a strap design for the bag.

Below, you can take a peek at my super rough sketching style...thank goodness for the computer! I tend to rough things out in a thumbnail sketch and proceed to refine the individual elements and lettering further in pencil. I then scan it and basically redraw everything in illustrator. Not too glamorous, but it's what works for me. If I were doing this for a client other than myself, I would have done a clean finished pencil layoutfor approval purposes, of course.

If you have a moment, please throw me a vote! It's pretty simple and you can vote for up to 5 designs. They are all worth checking out! Here is the link. You will get a follow up email that will ask you to confirm your vote. There will be 5 finalists chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, the likes of Paperchase, Robert Kauffman Fabrics, Chronicle Books, Gymboree, to name just a very few! The 6th finalist is the "people's choice." The final winner will be represented by Lilla for two years along with being awarded with several fantastic licenses! Pretty heady stuff. Thanks for your support!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Is your life a circus?

I've been taking a look at some of my work and wondering what I could do to make it more salable. I had done this piece below a while back for illustration friday.

The word was "tension." I liked how it turned out but thought perhaps I could do another version with type that would make it more wall art worthy and maybe useable for an office, haha?! I also decided that despite how much I love pink, nixing that color in lieu of a tan/beige would make it more gender neutral. Look for both over on my shop at Society6 (shameless self promo time :)

I would love to expand on this circus theme... so many fun possibilities!

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, folks!