March 15, 2014

Zingiber Officinales

Here's the finished version of my Ginger piece - I added watercolor and did a little digital cleanup, and I'm happy to report that it came out pretty close to my original vision, which was kind of like a botanical illustration in an old book. A few people have suggested that I should make a book of recipes like this, and that's actually something I've been thinking about for a while...not sure where that is going, but I'll definitely keep you posted! 

March 8, 2014

They Draw & Cook: Ginger

They Draw & Cook is a pretty cool website where you can submit hand-drawn recipes. This is one I'm working on for their current promotion, which is to do a piece with three recipes for the same ingredient. (Unfortunately you can only see one of my recipes at the moment because the whole piece doesn't fit in my scanner, but it also has gingerbread cake and ginger soda.) Anyway, this is definitely a work in progress, but I figured I'd go ahead and share it. Tomorrow I want to try to do some watercoloring on the original to replace these digital colors.

March 3, 2014

Sun Math

Today I've been sketching a tattoo design. This project is fun because it uses two of my favorite types of inspiration:

1. GEOMETRY. This sun is based on the "flower of life", a figure formed by drawing six intersecting circles, but there are lots of cool geometric figures to choose from. I've been reading this book, Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis, which apparently is one of the classic texts on illustration, and he says that he always starts every piece with a geometrical layout - every piece. Sometimes it's formal geometry and sometimes it's just a nice-looking division of the page with straight and curved lines, but that always goes on there first and then the figurative stuff goes on top of there and most of the lines get erased. I'm not going to pretend that I do that all the time, but it was a really interesting idea, and sometimes it makes a lot of sense.

2. COMBINING THINGS. If someone just asked me to draw a sun, that would be cool, and there would be a lot of directions to go with that...but I really like starting with two or more subjects, especially if they're not obviously related. Combining a sun with a flower of life was a really interesting challenge, and the result is way more unique than most of my suns probably are. There's a lot of formal interaction, for example the curves of the sun's rays are related to the curves of the circles, but the conceptual interaction can be even more interesting. For example, something about the combination of geometry and astronomy reminded me of alchemical illustrations of suns, which are really cool and inspired my take on this. Then I went back in the other direction a little, making my solar disk with sixfold symmetry like the flower of life, rather than the traditional eight-fold.

Anyway, sometimes when I get stuck I use both of these tricks. If you only have one subject in mind, try adding something else random and see where it takes you.

February 24, 2014

Illustration Friday: Space

This is a drawing I made for New Moon Magazine. The story was about a girl building a fort in the snow, but look, there's space up there – that's Ursa Major! Which is lucky, because space is this week's theme for Illustration Friday

February 23, 2014

Crafty: Shrinky Dink Pendants

It has taken me a little while to admit this, but I have really been having fun with Shrinky Dink plastic. It makes drawings into cool little pendants and other plastic bits, and is really easy. 

There are a lot of different types of Shrinky Dink plastic including some colors. Since you can color your own, though, I would suggest either Ink Jet (if you want to print any elements), Crystal Clear, or Rough N' Ready. The advantage of Rough N' Ready is that the rough side accepts more types of media, including colored pencils and watercolor. It does come out white, though, so choose Crystal Clear if transparency is important  – and color with Sharpies.

I like to draw my design in a sketchbook so I can erase and redraw as much as I want, and also because the sketch can be reused to create more pendants. Expect a lot of shrinking, with a final product about 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the original. For example, my original sketch is almost five inches high, and the pendant came out at about two inches.

Put your plastic over the sketch (shiny side up if you're using Rough N' Ready) and trace the design with a regular thickness Sharpie. Turn your design over and add color on the back – when the piece shrinks it will also get significantly thicker, separating the front and back layers and creating a stained glass type of effect if you do it this way. The color will get significantly deeper, as you can see from my pictures.

Cut around your pendant carefully. Shrinky Dink is kind of easy to tear or damage while cutting, so I'd suggest sticking to a really simple outer shape, or at least cutting with a craft knife if you want to try something more complicated. Leave room to punch a hole. If you do this with a standard hole punch, the hole will shrink down to a good size for a very thin cord or metal jump ring. 

Preheat your oven to 325° and arrange your work on a flat piece of cardboard with the colored side up. Bake for one to three minutes, watching as each piece curls up an then almost flattens out. Keep baking for about thirty more seconds once the plastic flattens, or go for the full three minutes if you're not sure. Pull it out and immediately press the pieces flat for a few seconds – I did this in a blank page of my sketchbook, which worked perfectly.

January 27, 2013

They Draw and Cook: Wild Violet Simple Syrup

 They Draw & Cook, and I realized that my violet syrup from last spring would be a great candidate for illustration. I'm waiting to hear back from them, but I'm auctioning the original of this drawing off on my Facebook page now.
I've been meaning to submit something to these guys for a while, so I'm happy to announce that I finally did it!

October 14, 2012

Inspiration: '

Whenever I'm looking for sketchbook inspiration, I like to start at ' It's a very open site dedicated to all art made in moleskine sketchbooks. My interest in the art really varies, but there's a lot and a wide variety, and if you see some work you like you can click through and check out that person's portfolio. Also, you can submit your work if you have a moleskine. It's pretty cool.