Monday, June 30, 2014

illustration friday, beard and day 38!

So when I heard that this week's illustration Friday's topic was beard, I thought it sounded like a fun one. aaaannnnd, I thought it could serve as day 38 in my 40 days of lettering project! I was determined not to spend a lot of time on it and more importantly, NOT to do my usual, scan, redraw with the pen tool routine in AI. Too tedious and would have taken way too much time. I figured this kinda lent itself to more of a woodcut, rough look anyway. Broke out the Tombow brush pen I heard so many people rave about and went about my business. I did retrace my initial pencil, in pencil, to get a better idea of spacing and letter widths but I tried not to get too fussy, and this was the result!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lilla Rogers MATS bootcamp June assignment

The June assignment for Lilla's bootcamp was to produce a nautically themed wall art piece. Now wall art is not an area I have typically ever felt my stuff was appropriate for. I well remember when I took MATS part A last spring, the wall art week was the week that really freaked me out, mainly because it was supposed to be an abstract collage piece, preferably done non-digitally. We were given two colors based on our horoscope and went from there. I had pink and yellow and ended up submitting this below, which while not abstract, it was at least, a "collage." Frankly, I was just happy to have gotten through the week with something to submit!

This time, the parameters were a bit looser in terms of media, but the mini assignment was to draw ships in bottles and other nautically themed icons. So, I did a bunch of crappy sketches and ultimately ended up using one anyway… the first one I did of the ship. As per usual, I did everything in illustrator, messing around with transparency, brushes and generally grunging it up at the end. I knew I wanted to incorporate some lettering and in trying to come up with a nautical phrase, "sea the world'" popped into my head. I'm sure the phrase itself has probably been used before, but I thought it would lend itself to a kids piece…the direction I knew I would go in. I thought it would be cool to show the curvature of the earth, given the title. The dolphin idea was kinda like having a reindeer pull the sleigh, ha. I almost (really wanted to) add a mermaid sitting on the back of the boat, but thought it would be a bit too much. If it had been a longer poster format, I definitely would have added one waving to him in the ocean, haha. I added the houses on a curve at the bottom to counter the curve at the top and this is where I ended up. In the beginning, I was hoping to give this a vintage travel poster feel, but ultimately, particularly given the square format direction, per the brief, it looks more like a kid's book cover. I'm ok with that, even though it is probably not considered your typical "wall art" piece.

Check out the rest of the boot camp gallery here. This month featured a lot of really strong pieces, enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

happy summer!

In honor of the longest day of the year, I did this little piece that also serves as day 37 of my 40 days of lettering project. My dad was born on this day and was always kinda proud of that little fact, do this one is for him :). I wanted to see if I could do this in under an hour, but I failed...took more like and hour and a half. I spent a little too much time messing with texture and brushes, oh well. But as luck would have it, I just realized that the illustration friday theme of the week is summer, so there ya go!

Hope it is as beautiful wherever you are as it is here in New England today!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#tbt… power puff girls return!!!

Little known Jill Howarth Illustration fun fact: I actually did a power puff girls paperback (based on the classic episode, Bubble Trouble!) for Scholastic back when I was starting to try to transition from graphic designer to illustrator! This was back when I was fresh from Hasbro and one of my buddies in the illustration department (I worked in corporate design) had this job thrown at him by his rep and he didn't have the time nor inclination to work on it. I happily accepted not realizing at the time how much work it would really involve. I don't recall how much time I was given, but I wasn't the most accomplished vector artist, but by the time I was done, me and my trusty pen tool had become the best of friends. I wasn't given any parameters besides the obvious… keep 100% true to the brand and characters and tell the story in exactly 32 pages as told on the episode. I already loved the show, so that was a plus. I'm not sure if this is how most picture books go, since I haven't ever done another since, but it was totally up to me how best to edit the story visually on that set number of pages. I drew the characters to the best of my ability, but they still came back with multiple revisions, particularly to those giant eyeballs. I was pregnant with my twins at the time, but I managed to get it done. My only regrets are that they didn't let me do the type, (which ended up being the most heavy handed generic sans serif you can imagine) and they never gave me any credit for being the illustrator. And the cover sucked design-wise, but hey, I got paid! 

So happy that they are bringing this show back. McCracken's stories and characters were smart and the styling, iconic. Can't wait to watch!! Long live Chemical X!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

day 36 of 40 days of lettering

4 to go... gettin' there! This quote was another creative interviews piece. It is the motto of Jackson Murphy and Graham MacInnes, founders of Pound and Grain. I futzed around a lot with this one, getting no where with sketches, for some reason. It seemed like a check list of some sort, so I decided to play that up. It's always a fine line to make it look interesting (and I always make it colorful), but not too wacky fun...hope it worked!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

blooms of Nigeria

You may have heard of the ongoing art project, "BloomsofNigeria" created to bring attention to the plight of the 300 Nigerian kidnapped girls. Illustrators Rebecca Bradley and Janna Morton have asked female artists to create a flower for each of the 180 known girls. I was honored to be asked to contribute to such a worthy project in the hopes of drawing attention and help create a visible reminder to the situation. It is easy to be overwhelmed and difficult to wrap your head around the magnitude of the tragedy when you hear the numbers. The beauty of this project is that here is power in bringing to light the name of an single child, one with hopes and dreams just like all of us. Somehow, it makes it more real and powerful to know the names of an individual. You can see the names and flowers for more girls on tumblr.

This is for you Yana... stay strong.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

day 35 of 40 days of lettering

Day 35 is another piece I did for creative interviews, this time it was an interview with Myles Allpress, senior art director with Fallon. This was a pretty short quote, but it didn't give me any obvious visuals, other than I toyed with the idea of a megaphone shape to fit the word team or Fallon in, but somehow that seemed kinda corny. Instead, I thought I would try to visually play up "team Fallon." You can see below my first pass at this. Whenever I do a lettering piece (or any piece in general), I take a quick pic of my sketch on my phone, take it into AI and redraw. At this stage, I don't care what colors I use at all, which is pretty obvious, I hope! Anyway, I didn't like the way it was reading. Even though, technically if you read it left to right it is correct, visually it read more like " creativity is a team fallon effort at." So, I played around with the effort portion, played with the letterforms more to make them fit together better, added pattern and texture until I was satisfied.

Only 5 more pieces to get to 40!!