Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doing the things I'm scared of: or, Why I applied for The Art of Shaving

Long story short, a lot of anxieties came to a head when I moved to LA three-plus years ago, and I had some growing up to do. I have since done a lot of things I never thought I would, and I've developed a taste for overcoming scary things. Mostly.

So a few weeks ago, I saw a post from an illustrator I follow on Facebook about a potential job. It was just a one-day thing involving drawing on a store-front window. It paid well. I thought it sounded fun. And, between the drawing-in-public-with-people-literally-watching-over-my-shoulder aspect of it and the honest assessment that there are many talented artists in LA who can draw circles around me...it was also terrifying.

Which meant that I had to apply, of course. I spent an evening sketching, and then I submitted.

I got the job.

This isn't that big of a deal from the outside, but it was a big deal to me. Nobody can produce hours upon hours of consecutive top-notch drawings...or at least that's what I told myself...so I had some sketches that were better and some that were not. Turns out that non-artists are easily impressed, though, so I had that going for me. And because of that, just this one simple job has already opened up a couple of exciting doors for me (including the probable opportunity to do this job again).

I am this human.

After drawing shaving products on a window for 4.5 hours straight, I was starving. And after doing something scary for 4.5 hours straight, I was exhausted. I decided to get some food. (Sidenote: When you're single and childless, eating out alone might sound depressing. But when you're the mother of young children, it is a joyous occasion. You don't have to cook OR be simultaneously in charge of the nourishment, table-manners, and choking-evasion of multiple humans.)

This is my cousin's adorable daughter.
So on the drive home I chose a place I'd never been to, got some food...some truly terrible Japanese food...and sat in my car in the parking lot in the darkness, blaring Arcade Fire and eating terrible Japanese food and feeling more alive.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Art as means of processing the crud of life

My son is four and a half years old, and he's constantly drawing terrifying things like monsters and zombies and sharks with people's legs sticking out of their mouths. Most of these things come from his imagination, but when I tell him about something terrifying from real life, I find it interesting that drawing is his first coping mechanism of choice.

I try to strike a balance between honest and age-appropriate when I tell him these real-life horror stories (like the Boston Marathon Bombing and September 11th, as shown below), and with a natural sense of empathy, he internalizes these things. In general, though, he's a very optimistic child with a big heart. I think he can afford to be so because he processes the darker side of life through drawing and telling elaborate stories. How terrifying it must be to be a child, and not to know yet what's real and what's not and that there really are scary things out there.

The Boston Marathon Bomber, a "monster holding a bomb." The bomb is the blue blob with a yellow-and-blue blob on top in the monster's right hand. I did not call the man a monster; he did.

September 11th, with "kids crying and worried about their mommies in the tower, and a monster about to push the tower over, and a superhero coming to save the mommies, and they're saying, 'HELP!'" I did not add these details to the story.

I do believe in the therapeutic powers of art-making, the simple healing act of expression, and I've long harbored ambitions (among my collection of ambitions) to help other people find that power. At least I can start with my own children.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What I painted last night

Ever since I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox, I've wanted one of Felicity Fox's storm paintings on my wall. Like this:

And last night I got the hankering to paint, so I made this:

It's far from perfect, but I only spent an evening on it, and I rather like how it looks on my wall.  I painted it on a 5" x 7" canvas with a 1.5" deep profile, and I wrapped the image around the sides, which is a nice feature, I think. It would have benefited from being painted on a larger canvas, since my brushes only get so small and the details can get clunky at this scale.

That's all.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Character design and Disney style

I've never been very strong with character design, so I ordered a couple of books on the subject. Been watching some YouTube tutorials, too. Interestingly, most of what I've been able to find is from current or former Disney artists. So naturally, the things I draw afterwards look Disney-ish. These are a few doodles from my sketchbook.

I'm constantly trying to define "my style," and this isn't necessarily it. But I'm learning new things from it. One thing I'm digging in particular is learning how to keep my characters from looking static and lame in their environments. My hope is to imbue my illustration work with a little more cinematic quality. Interesting camera angles, dramatic lighting, dynamic poses. My idol in that respect is illustrator Pascal Campion. Everything that man touches is so full of life.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The latest Fine Doodles

It's been a while since I've done a Fine Doodle, focusing more on illustration in the past year or so. But two old clients popped up this year and ordered a few. Each of these was originally drawn by a young child, then painted by me. Here they are:

Psychedelic Seahorse...love that title
Animal Fairy

Carousel Horse

Monday, August 22, 2011

For glory and for beauty

All of my faith-based paintings can now be found at forgloryandforbeauty.tumblr.com. Take a look, tell your friends.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Fine Doodles

It always takes a while to update the Fine Doodles gallery, but I wanted to share a few recent ones. Three of my favorites:

Just look at those monsters. Just look at them! The only details I added were a bit of texture on the beasts and the faint clouds up top. This is the kind of stuff I drew as a kid.

This one is titled Medusa in Love. It was drawn by a nine-year-old who thought that Medusa would be a friendlier person if someone showed her a little love...and gave her flowers. I tried to give it a bit of a Romantic background.

There are just too many things to love about these crazy-limbed people. There was no background originally, but I like the way it turned out all together.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A preview of things to come

I've been working on a little illustration that I'm excited about. Here's a tiny section of it. If you can guess what's going on, I'll probably give you a million dollars.

More fantastic illustrators

Spending too much time on the internet has the wonderful effect of shoving me in the direction of too many illustrator's websites. I've stumbled upon the following talented people through various means - blog comments, Illustration Friday* archives, link hopping...several of them have that retro style I enjoy so much:

Monsieur IV, by Blanca Gomez of Cosas Minimas. Available here. Go look as her website. Just look at it. And then tell me you wish you didn't own every one of them, or better yet, you made them all yourself.
This charming little vignette is titled Sneaky. It's by Vincent Desjardins, who generously explains his process on his blog. He gets the letter-press look with the aid of the help of Mr. Retro. Next time I have a hundred bucks to blow on a sweet Photoshop filter, I'm getting me one of those. Love that look.
Stacked, by Gennine, who writes this enchanting blog. Available here. The bird motif has been so popular for so long, but hers still impress me. I think it's the graphic shapes mixed with organic textures, which I tend to love.

*If you've never been to Illustration Friday, it provides a weekly prompt to which illustrators of all kinds respond. Fun browsing.
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