Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I have been trying to draw more, create more. And just get myself out of a creative rut. It's slow going. Getting the motivation to take the small few minutes I have to draw is hard. There's less time for me to do things, and when I do have free time I tend to squander it on something easy and worthless like TV. Now, TV and reading and escape is great. Sometimes you have to just veg. But I do need to keep drawing, and using illustrator and photoshop, because they are skills that you WILL LOSE if you don't use them. There is so much you forget when you stop using it. I don't want to forget. I don't know if I will ever have a job that allows me to use my creativity, or drawing or hell anything I studied in college and spend years doing professionally. But, I can't quite squash the hope that maybe, I will be able to do them again as a job. Rather than as a hobby.

So I was doodling sketching (It's totally sketching if you doodle in a sketch book isn't it?) and came up with some silly illustrations for Thanksgiving.

So, this holiday is really just about eating for me. I don't usually eat much Turkey (give me mashed potato's, bread and stuffing, and I get all sleepy after eating enough carbohydrates to prepare me for a marathon. (More like a Doctor Who Marathon....AmIright???)

I came up with some silly ideas.

Doesn't everything look better in-between laurel leaves?
So official right?

I'm not a huge fan of roast turkey. Although I love me some buttery spuds. 

Turkey Leg Wreath lying on a bed of cranberry leaves and cranberries. (with outline)

No outlines
 I'm not sure which I like best. I tend to be pretty flat with my drawings. I don't always go for outlines, but sometimes I think it makes a better impact. Also, the shadows weren't looking very good, and drop shadow just looks sooooo.....drop shadowy.  I struggle with color choice, especially when using the pantone CMYK color book. YOU  try to pick out four great colors when you have 5000 at your disposal. There's just not enough value difference, and I think it gets a bit confusing to look at.

I was going to do a chalkboard look for this one but got a bit distracted and just trashed the idea. Maybe I'll add some chalkboard effects, or not.

A little peek at the illustrator work, plus to the right are only "some" of the colors I choose from.

Yep, a bit overwhelming sometimes.

Anyway, I guess this blog and the other one (eep, been awhile since I posted on my humor one-guess I wasn't feeling too funny) will be the repository of my creative work for the near, and possibly forever future. 

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll. I'm so thankful that I have found sometime to draw again, and I'm also so very thankful I have a life that allows for such niceties as a big day set aside for gluttony and teasing your family members. It's a pretty stunning gift. My thoughts and prayers to the suffering and hurt. My thanks to those reading.


Monday, November 17, 2014

projects for November

I've had a few projects I've accomplished this November.

I created a design wall with foam board insulation, batting and flannel. No more crawling around on the floor laying out my quilt pieces. I have been planning on this for years now. But there was never any space on any walls.

Design wall and mini minky blanket
It's not permanent, it's lightweight so I'll be moving it around whenever I get my office/studio in a better layout. 

In the meantime it sports some quilt pieces, and some of my kids artwork. Just wrap the foam board ($15.00 a piece of 4'x8'x3/4") with some quilt batting and cover that with flannel. The quilt pieces stick onto the flannel with no pinning.  The only issue I had with making this is that using duct-tape doesn't work that well, It just pulls off the paper backing and falls off the batting and flannel. The staple gun works slightly better but they pull out of the foam core pretty easily. 

I also recovered my hand me down office chair. It had holes in the upholstery, and the stuffing was starting to show through. So I found some fabric from my stash and with my handy staple gun re-covered it. It was left-over plaid from when I made a kilt. It was a fairly easy project till I had to re-upholster the back of the lumbar support. I ended up sewing it onto the chair which in hindsight was a lot of work when I could have just glued it on. (I didn't want to have visible staples on the back)


I don't have a before photo because I'm just not that good a blogger. Just imagine it looking crappier and red. That's the before. 

I finished up a double sided minky blanket for my niece for x-mas. Minky sure feels nice but like all high pile fabrics it's heavy and unruly to sew. When I shook out the fabric to lay it out on the floor and cut it to the right dimensions, a huge puff of minky hairs just exploded all over my living room floor. My daughter didn't mind, she just wrapped herself up in the fabric and named it her "baba".

 When I took it away from her to sew she cried big fat tears and beat her tiny fist agains my studio door. The fit she threw at Hobby Lobby when I bought it was pretty epic as well. Lets just say that after it was cut from the bolt of fabric she draped herself in it and gave anyone who tried to touch it dirty looks. Since I had some leftover minky fabric I made her a tiny lopsided blanket. It's up there in the picture of the design wall. Just scroll up guys I'm not posting the same picture again. Gosh....

I didn't take a picture of the huge minky all laid out in it's glory because honestly draping the blanket on cute stuff and taking thousands of badly lit pictures was just too hard today. 

There you go, it's all finished and packaged up.

That's my other desk chair. It's the one in-front of my computer. It's made from bungee cords and is super bouncy!!! I love it too. 

Well, I've gotta go pick up the kids. Sorry for the typo's, lately my fingers are too frozen to type correctly. I should have kept those fingerless usb heated gloves. Oh well.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is it too late for Inktober?

Seeing as it's November I'm gonna say, yep, it's too late for Inktober.

It's a way for artists to push themselves to draw more.

But hey. I'm not very good at keeping up with trends. So I guess a month late is fine right?

I was working on trying to come up with cool ideas and drawings. It hasn't gone so well. 

My sketchbook for Inktober. 

I do not own nor work for Adam's extract.

I am not working for Adam's extract, I was just making chocolate chip cookies with vanilla extract (Adams's is what I have alway's used) and admired the bottle shape and style. When I ran out I put it up on my window sill to hold an ivy cutting. Well, I noticed the label hasn't changed much in 50 years. Not, that's not a bad thing. Brand identity is important, and the old style look is very popular right now. But I thought I'd give myself a project to keep up with my drawing skills (or procrastinate from mopping). I loved the glass bottle, the shape and even the label. But thought it could use some updating. So I came up with a silly idea. Reminder, this is just a personal project using stuff I have around my house. Adam's is a Texas based company. Their factory was on I-35 for many years and I would drive by. They've moved to Gonzalez since. 

Their bottle and logo presently.

You'd think with graph paper my lines would be straighter, oops.

Green ink is fun, I may just keeping using it.

So my work for Inktober, a month late. I even tried doing a nice rendering in Illustrator but so far it's a damned mess. Why is text so hard!!!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

William Morris Ipad game


In Art School (can I call it Art School if I got an art degree at a liberal arts state school?) Ok, in art history class we learned about William Morris, the leader of the Arts and Crafts movement in the late 19th century. He famously (well famous for me) said, "Have nothing in your home that you do not find useful or beautiful". I agree wholeheartedly.

SO, the artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (wow, how do you get that job) created an i-pad app featuring William Morris art, and it's super rad. and also free....

I'm gonna get it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

4 months late

It's been four months since I last posted on this blog. I wish I could explain but there's no clear cut reason. I just couldn't find anything to say. I wasn't working on much as far as design and craft. I was focusing on the monumental task of searching for a new house, a good school district, a job, then buying said house, and trying to find a loan, and then waiting for the closing. Unfortunately, on closing day some very unpleasant things happened, and continued for days afterward and we were unable to buy the house I had spent so much time effort, thought, work and hope to buy. So.....then what?

Well, I had to start over. Look for more houses. Couldn't find a house that would work for us. So we upped our purchase price. Found one house. Started the loan, hoping, thinking, praying, preparing,  for the process again. I hoped against hope that this would go through and we could move before school started. I needed to have residence in the new house to send my son Jedi to Kindergarden. The loan process was even more arduous the second time around. They forgot about my loan, or misplaced it, or I was just not important enough for the mortgage company to finish it. We barely made it.

That was a month ago. I've since been able to send my son to kindergarden. And that has been an experience. The principal now knows my son by name. It has been hard. This year, has been harder than the rest. So, so very hard. So I didn't post. I couldn't. I couldn't find the time to sit at the computer and post when every-time I sat down I got another three emails I had to responds to with records for the loan company. I had a very small window of time to use without being sat on, poked, begged, demanded by my children. Those moments I had were devoted to getting the home crap finished. Problem was, it was never finished.

But the clouds are starting to rumble and hopefully the rain will come and put an end to this drought. I mean that figuratively and literally. I'm in a design drought as well as the entire state of Texas being in a perpetual drought. I need rain.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Websites and new homes

I have been trying to update my portfolio website since I'm looking to go back to work.

Click on the picture to go to my new portfolio website.

I have been struggling to make it look really nice and clean. I had generally used too many color in my work. One of my design T.A.'s said it was "disney puke." So using one or two colors was the goal. I still used about three major color and I'm ok with that. As always, I find myself drawn to blue and black. I guess I'm in my blue phase.

I also updated my business card. The idea was to create my own logo.

It's been about a 2 month journey of new ideas, and failed ideas, and just a whole lot of sketching and illustrating. I'm finally pretty happy with the above.

Let me know if you know of any graphic design jobs (full time please) in San Antonio or near me in New Braunfels.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Peacocks and first Birthdays

My niece is going to turn one this Sunday. I'm not able to make it to her first birthday so I made her a little onesies for the occasion.

My sister's theme was "Peacocks".

Onesies for One Year Old

Here's my design process. I start with a pencil sketch on graph paper.

Throw out some rough ideas.
Start drawing in illustrator based on my sketches

Refine based on new ideas (I liked the dark outline)

Then I liked no outline but disliked the font

Better font, and the colors changed to
suit the printing. 

In the end I had to change the colors in illustrator, to suit them to my desk jet printer. They are hardly calibrated. So even though the final drawing looked a bit to "lime green and turquoise". The finished product looked much more kelly green and peacock blue after printing. Oh, the pains of printer calibration.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The happy Whale

I had been working for the last few weeks on a baby quilt, and stuffed animal for my very good friend Brooke.

She is having a boy and was planning on decorating with whales.

A little illustration I did for this project.

I had to make something.

I had found this on Pinterest, and went from there:

It's an absolutely adorable tutorial on making a little whale toy from old jeans.

I had to do it. It was posted on a Chinese language website. I couldn't find the original source so I cant credit the person responsible. I just had to go from pictures, since there weren't any directions after I translated the website.

I cut up a pair of old jeans and came up with this. (Actually my second attempt after first making a rough draft)

Notice anything?

I was not trying to make an Orca.

It took me awhile to figure out why it didn't look right. And then I noticed. I switched the fabrics and  made the whale upside down.  The shapes should have been reversed, so that the belly of the whale curved upward, and the top of his head ended higher up. I tried to reconcile myself with my not quite orca (missing the correct dorsal find and spot) but failed and tried again. At this point I had no more left over denim and had to make it out of leftover navy cotton and some printed denim flannel.

Third attempt

It still didn't turn out as whale-ish looking to my eye, the nose came out too rounded. But I was drawing my own pattern and sometimes, the first pattern needs a bunch of adjustments.  Still, I'm hoping the little boy will like it, despite it's imperfections.

In-between the 1st stuffed whale and the second I worked on the baby quilt.

Working on layout on my kitchen table.

Playing around with the appliqué pattern

I was really excited to use the majority of fabrics from my stash.

And I was excited to use reverse appliqué technique.

It turned out pretty well until the reverse appliqué started to fray.....badly.

The wonky panels were intended. I was trying to evoke
waves moving. 

I disliked it so much I had to re-appliqué it with a satin stitch several times. And still it turned out messy looking. 

I thought I would just go with it anyway and began to quilt it to the batting and backing.

And hated it immediately. I tried free motion quilting on my basic Bernina and it just looked messy. So after much pulling out of stitches with my trusty old seam ripper, I gave up and decided to start over.

I had to get new fabrics since I had used all the fabrics that would work in the first one and began again.

For some reason the colors flare badly in this picture. I've color corrected
in photoshop so I'm gonna just chalk it up to my bad photography
and my bad lighting.

This was the fabric I found at the Quilt Haus.

This tag is an amazing find that I forgot I had stashed away in my sewing stuff,
I haven't used these since I found them 13 years ago. 

Hand quilted waves, and at the top white panel, clouds.
(this is the correct color of medium blue)

I had gotten so irritated by the machine quilting and the bunching and the little tucks that I decided to so something I'd never done before. Hand Quilting.

I had a lot of trouble starting the appliqué, I always forget the blanket appliqué stitch, and then beginning quilting by hand with no callous' on my fingers was pretty tough. I went thru four thimbles and still couldn't manage to quilt with any of them. I finally gave up on thimbles and went back to doubled band-aids on the pad of my middle finger.

I enjoyed the hand quilting, and it gave the quilt a softer and more fluffy appearance than machine quilting. I also managed to mitre the corners of my binding, something that has eluded me for a decade. Luckily, with Pinterest, I found an "easy" method that even working with my non-bias sashing. (Bias tape is too much of a hassle so I usually use straight grain sashing. (I know, I think bias tape is a hassle and I hand quilted this quilt, I'm a study in contrast)

Here's the little package all wrapped up.

Here are some of the links I used for the tutorials on binding with a mitred corner, hand-quilting, and reverse appliqué.

With reverse appliqué I would recommend using a knit or a felt so the edges don't fray.

Friday, January 31, 2014

New logo

I changed up my logo some for my website. I added it to the website as a header, but have yet to add any new or better material to it.

Take a look.



Or if you'd rather not.

I like it.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

G and the Narwahl

I'm not sure I spelled Narwhal correctly. Oh well.

So I did another handwritten letter for my sister G.

Her fav animal was a Narwhal.

I couldn't figure out how to feature Ranunculus (her fav flower) in a scene with whales, so I just added small fish and bubbles.

I'm not terribly happy with the letter G, it's a bit too stark.

But, I like the Narwhal, they seem kinda cool, and freckly.