Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homegrown Gifts: Part 3

OK, these might be a little over the top, but they were so much fun! I did little pen and ink drawings, collaged them onto jewelry boxes and bottles, and decorated them with embroidery thread, buttons, beads, etc. I also made earrings to go in the boxes.

Of course, when you make special little things like this, you always hope they get treated well in their new homes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homegrown Gifts: Part 2


Who doesn't love magnets?! And it's even more fun to make them yourself! You can use just about any junk you have laying around to make a magnet. Behold, just some of the tools of the trade:

For these particular ones (made as xmas gifts for some co-workers), I collaged magazine photos onto buttons, glued some other stuff on there, sprayed them with a gloss coating, then glued each one to a magnet!

Aside from making them as gifts, they can also be an excuse to have a party! A couple of years ago we had a party and ended up with a fridge covered in awesome magnets made by our artsy and not so artsy friends!

For these, we just used cardboard, elmers glue and duct tape, and attached magnetic strips! If you want to go down the recycling route, then, aside from cutting up old magazines, you can use those handy magnetic business cards that your local pizza joint and dentist give out - just collage right on top.

(Scott Murphy and Beth making sweet magnets!)

Fun times!

Next up: It's a SECRET!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Homegrown Gifts: Part 1

It's that time of year again. Time to buy presents. For a lot of people, potentially. But, if you're like a lot of us, you may find that you are a little short on cash, or maybe those store-bought gifts just aren't personal enough. What to do? Make gifts of course! I'll kick off this mini-series of posts with a gift that I gave to my boyfriend, Alex, last Holiday season. We are both Michael Pollan fans, and on top of that Alex had been getting interested in cooking, so what better gift than a personalized recipe book! I tapped both of our Moms for favorite recipes, and then made a cover with a tribute to Mr. Pollan himself; "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants". The result is below.

The cover was drawn and hand-lettered in india ink and white acrylic on a recycled paper bag, and then mod podged onto a 3-ring binder filled with recipes. The edging was done with cream-colored yarn (just dip it in elmer's glue and stick it on!).

Next up: Awesome and Easy Magnets!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

D&D-inspired Sample

This is my latest sample piece, inspired by Dungeons & Dragons Kids. I've been wanting a chance to do something more stylized, where I could really play with design and details. I am pretty happy with how this came out, especially because I am still fairly new to the whole only-using-watercolors thing. Getting more confident with each painting! The painting was done as an assignment on our collective blog, Running with Paintbrushes, which just had it's 100th post!

I'm not sure if I'll have time to do much more work before I leave for Egypt (where I will once again be working for the Metropolitan Museum doing technical drawings at a dig site with Scott Murphy), but I will be bringing along a sketchbook and my watercolors, so should have something interesting to share when I get back - just in time for Halloween!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Becca's Baba Yaga

Well, here is my interpretation of one of the classic Russian Fairy Tales of Baba Yaga. I had a ton of fun with this one!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Illustration Master Class and Imagine FX

Well, this post is a bit overdue seeing as the Master Class was in June, but I just received a copy of the September issue of Imagine FX and got excited to make this post into a neat little package.

The Illustration Master Class this year was phenomenal. The fabulous faculty and top-notch students made the hours spent in the studio loads of fun and loaded with informative demos, critiques and lectures. I went into it more relaxed than last year - it's easy to get overwhelmed or put too much pressure on yourself in a workshop like this (which is what happened to me last time) - and I had a fabulous time this year. I did a painting that I am really proud of, and took plenty of time to mingle with the other students and faculty. I challenged myself this year to use only watercolors - no colored pencils. I did so because none of the faculty really use colored pencil, so this way I'd get better instruction on technique, and also because watercolors are difficult for me. The result is below.

After the class ended, the students had a chance to submit a jpeg of their work to be considered for an Imagine FX article. I sent mine in, not thinking I'd have much of a chance. But wait! A few weeks later I got an email from Rebecca Guay, the lovely and talented IMC organizer and wonderful artist, saying that I along with 9 other IMCers had been chosen for the article! Whoa! So cool! We were chosen out of a pool of really high caliber artists, so this was such a complement. Then, the real thrill, I saw the magazine itself and my piece had actually been chosen as the top 5! Needless to say, I am pretty stoked to be included with my IMC classmates in this article, and I am very grateful to the IMC faculty for pushing me and helping me to do one of my best paintings yet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Monsters

What can I say? I love monsters. Especially the cute(ish) ones. So, in the vein of my previous monster paintings, here is a newbie, completed over the weekend. In this image, the little girl is getting the monsters to clean themselves up. They had broken into her room earlier, trying to scare her of course, but she would have none of that! So she's making them presentable, and then they'll have a tea party and learn some proper manners.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Cover!

I was recently asked to do a book cover for the series Profiles of Educators, published by the Student Press Initiative at Teachers College. Each book contains a series of profiles of different teachers, snapshots of their lives as educators, written by graduate students. They are lovely books. The cover needed to be concept-driven, and the professor I worked with had the idea of using old maps to convey the idea of mapping a life or career. I loved the idea, and ran with it. The cover is designed to be a wrap-around, with the map on the front cover, and the compass on the back cover. I had loads of fun with this piece, and appreciate the opportunity to work with SPI!

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Work!

Above is my "Mother Nature" painting, created for Running with Paintbrushes, a collective blog with Scott Murphy and Owen Weber. It was for an assignment given to us by Dennis Nolan, a fabulous illustrator and former professor of ours from the Hartford Art School. Below is a more recent illustration created for the ArtOrder Challenge titled "Rust", where we had to illustrate the quote "A sword, a spade, and a thought should never be allowed to rust" - James Stephens. This illustration is also on the collective blog - go check it out to see the fantastical creations of my cronies.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A bit of fun

I thought I'd post some little drawings I did a while back as holiday gifts for friends. They were lots of fun to do - quick, satisfying, and silly. Sometimes it's important to break away from the (more) serious illustration work that I usually focus on, and just play. These don't necessarily belong in my portfolio, but I think it's nice to share these sorts of things (click to enlarge images)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

JW Waterhouse: Garden of Enchantment


A few weeks ago I saw a post on James Gurney's blog about a trip he'd taken with Dennis Nolan and Doug Anderson, two of my former professors from the Hartford Art School. They had gone to Montreal to see the JW Waterhouse exhibition at the Montreal Art Museum, and the review was glowing. I immediately emailed Dennis to ask if it was worth the trek, and his response was: "You must go! It's one of the top 5 shows I've ever seen!" High praise indeed!

So, it seemed we didn't have a choice. At 6am on Saturday morning of MLK weekend we piled into the car and began the pilgrimage. It turns out that about 15 other illustrators and art lovers that we know were heading up there the same weekend. We kept running into them in the streets, in bars, and, of course, at the exhibition, all of which lead to a raucous good time, as is usual with that crowd.

I've never known an art show to inspire so many people to make such a journey, and it was unquestionably worth it! I spent hours transfixed by the paintings. They glow, they are full of life, they are often much looser up close than I had imagined, and he used surprisingly subtle colors and shades (making them nearly impossible to reproduce accurately - or so it appears, based on the poor quality of the exhibition catalog). His subject matter is based on myth, legend, and history - he is a storyteller, a dramatist, something that we illustrators strongly relate to. The only other time I've felt truly stunned by a work of art was the first time I saw a Botticelli in person, four years ago. If there is any way you can make it up to Montreal before February 7, (when the show and most of the paintings leave North America for good) go!

Magic Circle