Oh, you know...just drawing unicorns for homework around here:
These days - in the midst of midterms (they snuck up on me!) - I find myself stressing about homework and then I realize I have to draw. lol. Or make a cute logo. Or brand an imaginary business. This always amazes me. I feel pretty lucky to get to do so. It makes me really happy to know that when I chose to go back to school it was largely so I'd have time to develop my own style and get some things off the ground that I've always wanted to do but never had time to...things that I didn't have time to do while working. So glad one of these is happening right now! Even if it's stressful.
It's been a super-crazy couple weeks, here. After "reading week" (which is code for Spring break without the break) I had a million homeworks to catch up on and the aforementioned project this illustration is for has been looming over my head: it's a self-directed semester long project, and I decided to design a children's publisher's catalog - sounds like a strange choice, maybe, but I get to invent and illustrate a bunch of books to go in it. It's been super fun so far! I draw a lot, but I don't often color my illustrations. It's been really fun (and a bit slow and frustrating!) to get in there and learn to work together with Illustrator and Photoshop and experiment with texturing and outlines (or lack thereof). I've also made a baby blanket (really, this was all I wanted to do! Felt nice to make something with my hands) and worked on a super-cool short-term project for the 'ol animation studio. Whew!
I'm taking tonight off with the mister before I have to dive head first into a paper-writing, catalog-illustrating, layout-doing, typography-sign-making, project-brainstorming crazy marathon of a catch-up weekend, here. I'm trying not to count down to the summer! lol.
What have you been up to?
I know I haven't gone much into my artistic background here in a while, but I have to say: I'm
a pencil girl. It's an animation school thing. I learned to wield many kinds of pencils there. But design school: it's all about pens. Mostly. Or at least it was last year. We had this class in second year that was pretty much draw-for-design-with-only-pen bootcamp. Scariest thing at first, ever, for me! But it ended up being pretty awesome.
At first, we just practiced drawing straight line after straight line, circle after circle, basic perspective: the point being that you gain confidence in your strokes and therefore can use the pen confidently. You can't erase pen. That's the point! You have to put it where it ends up. I still struggle with this (and actually feel like it's more of an Industrial Design rendering thing...), but it's super-useful for Designers of all sort.
We had assignments every week to draw different things (ending with a multiple page flipbook!) and one of them was to freehand alphabets in as many different styles as we could.
I feel like if I could post one of these random notebook thought-jumbles every week, you would get a sense of the general chaos of my world & what I'm up to. lol.
They often become a mash-up of ideas + oh, shit - things I need to write down before I forget + related research + a few ugly finding-my-footing doodles (but that's always funny).
I came across this page in a folder of process for the same project as this. (Do you recognize the girl?) These messy pages are where all my favorite ideas usually happen: I'll be sitting in another class, trying to listen to a lecture and suddenly my whole other project unfolds in front of me, scribbled in pen. Or I lay down in bed and all my best thoughts happen, then. Someone told me that's actually a thing the other day, but I have yet to look it up. I know I'm not alone, anyway...
TED says doodling is good for you. I concur.
Do you doodle?
If you're wondering what I've been up to...I'm in the process of trying to work on my illustration style! (Among a million other school-related things. heh.) It's kind of my mission, this year.
I try to draw as much as I can (and love it!), when it comes to actual finished illustration projects I feel like I don't have as much experience with that. Especially technique-wise! My year in film school (years ago) had me drawing on paper a lot - but digital drawing? I have a lot to learn, there. I usually just scan my pencil drawings in and use those, since I love the handmade look of that so much more...but I've been craving more digital rendering skills, so I kind of combined the chance to make a video in design class recently with honing some digital illustration skills.
Here's a peek at my learning process, so far:
That kind of shows the progression of making this gal in Photoshop from start to finish. I started with a doodle that I did on some notebook paper, scanned it in, set it to semi-transparent, and got to work with a Photoshop brush tracing over it and cleaning it up with my wacom tablet. Which I'm so shaky drawing on - agh! lol. It took a while to get used to. I used a bunch of different textured brushes for the final color - I'm kind of a texture junkie! And colors, oh colors.
Annnnd...one hipster art-school student, drawn.
I hope I can share the whole finished video soon...
So, as soon as I found Albrecht Durer's amazing blackletters and got an embarassing amount of I'm-definitely-a-type-nerd-now books out of the library (including the prolific Jan Tschichold's "Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering", which I bought a used copy of right away and am still geekin' out over!) I wanted to try my hand at my own blackletters.
I grabbed a big sketchbook and a chisel pen to give it a try myself a few weeks back:
As you can see, I just randomly tried to replicate letters by looking at them in books, having not handled a pen this way since an eighth grade foray into calligraphy. lol. I'm definitely interested in honing some kind of calligraphy skill, one day - I'm going to need to get a more regimented graph paper so I'm not all grumpy when they turn out leaning this way and that, though. lol.
Have you ever tried your hand at hand-lettering?
I'm obsessed. Obsessed!
I just finished up designing this info-graphic for my Gender Studies class...
(in other words - this is the fruit of my weekend labours):
Our assignment was to intervene somehow in the current public construction of gender - so I opted to focus on how sexual orientation is largely assumed based on aesthetic appearance, otherwise known as 'gender expression'. I was highly inspired by iO Tillett Wright's work and 50 Shades of Gay TEDx Talk, and this "Breaking Through the Binary" chart were very helpful in putting this together.
Feel free to share it, tweet it, pin it - please help spread the word & break down assumptions!
PS - I try not to use these colors on every free do-what-I-want-project I do, but I just can't.
Seriously, my whole portfolio is going to be in these colors...lol.
Kay - I'm just going to say it: I've become a huge type nerd.
Also, my camera cord disappeared, third year classes have been crazy for the last two months,
I got a big tattoo, I started doing yoga, my husband broke his ankle a few weeks ago, and we still live among boxes. Life is not necessarly pretty right now (which, I'm discovering, has driven my blog posts of the past) - but it's full. And I'm taking the semester off from work! Thank goodness.
It's also full of gorgeous type like this that I'm now discovering:
I have a serious obsession with any and all things blackletter right now.
My favorite is the last page, where it says: "Here ends this little book". he he.
I want to make this a place I love documenting all the stuff I'm learning and doing, again - so here, I start. I've recently started calligraphy-style attempting to draw some blackletter like this and it's addicting, too. So nerdy, I know - but I'm down with that. We're all nerds, in some way...
I showed you some of my ghost photography inspiration the other day...
And here's one of my ghost shots:
I used a long exposure & my trusty tripod to get this shot.
This is probably my least favorite of the bunch, too - compared to the other ones it's barely ghosty, but it's probably my most realistic shot: if ever you were to see an actual ghost, it would probably more like a real person barely there, I think. I think.
I needed 3 shots to display for the assignment in class, so took about two rolls of film and ended up with about 4 shots I really liked. It was pretty much a big huge (slightly scary) fun shooting experiment! And the developing - oh, the developing. I worked a lot on the tone of these and ended up keeping them fairly low-key and a bit darker, being scary ghosts and all. I really just wanted to shoot ghosts and ghosts and ghosts after this. Ghosts eveywhere!
Also, this is like...one of my only 'serious' shots. You'll see.
I started a class-led foray into Analog Photography with my trusty Canon AE-1 last year,
starting with our rad first assignment: ghosts! (and ufo's - more on those, later...)
This was part of the research I did for an Analog Design Photography class I took at the beginning of second year (fall 2012). I was so excited to learn the basics of using a camera manually, much less using film (which I had recently fallen in love with again - but I am old enough to have had a film camera before, thankyouverymuch). We also had to research National Enquirer magazine and the like (for the cheese factor).
And then we got going in class and - egads! So much tech to learn! I had kind of expected that,
but whoa. And once you get the basics of film loading and stuff, then you focus more on the scary stuff like - shit, now I have to develop this film! Properly! Without messing up any of the light-tight and chemical steps! But seriously, it was the most fun. The teacher & group of design kids was amazing, I learned a ton, and I was sad when the class/darkroom priviledges were over!
Starting with this, the first scary assignment - Ghost & UFO photography!
AKA: double-exposure boot camp (or any other ghostly film effect).
Being interested in the paranormal (still - and I used to be that tween that scared themselves silly watching those ghost hunter shows, which I still regularly do), I was so excited about this assignment! Like, geeking out. These precedents helped me see what was possible to shoot.
I'm going through all my school work to properly document it/start my portfolio, so I'll share the ghost shots I took soon - I thought it might be cool to share the inspiration behind them, too.
Are you interested in this kind of ghostly photography at all?
Do you have any favorite ("real" or staged) ghost photos or photographers?
PS - If you're interested, Duane Michals has a lot of great ghost shots.