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artful

playing around

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playing around

You may have seen in a couple recent posts of mine that I've been trying my hand at (real, not digital) watercolors here lately. I even tried to illustrate my pup, Lulu. Didn't really look like her but eh, whatevs. :) 

Here are a few more I've added to the ole sketchbook...just playing around and practicing. Maybe one day when I get good enough, I'll do a really (purposefully) nice piece. The sketch above is of a drawing I did of a building downtown a couple months ago. I just recently added the color, though. I think it's an apartment building about 1.5 blocks away from my office. The one below is supposed to be the Carew tower, also downtown. The very last one is sketched after a photo I found on the internets. I love dated motel signs. So fun. 

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best feelings

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best feelings

If you've glanced at my blog before or follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, then you probably already know that I like to draw. Buildings, people, patterns, dogs...whatever. Every once in a while, when the cosmos align just right, I get the chance to simultaneously draw and get paid. When that happens, it's really pretty much one of the best feelings in the world. It's special...like building a house with your bare hands and whole heart and then someone saying, "That's a really pretty house. Can I live there too?" That made more sense in my head, actually, but I'm not sure how else to explain it. 

So recently, one of these types of opportunities came across my path and I was, and still am, pretty psyched about it. I was asked to do a full cover illustration of Writer's Digest magazine to go along with some illustrations I had previously done for the interior feature package of the July/August issue! You can see the cover above along with some close-ups and interior shots from the feature package below. 

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tough mug

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tough mug

I tried to paint my tiny chihuahua/rat terrier, Lulu, the other day. She's got a tough mug to capture. 

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mercantile library

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mercantile library

After hearing several people tell me about this Cincinnati gem, I finally went to check it out myself. Behold, The Mercantile Library!

Gorgeous, right? When I first walked in, I felt like I could smell all the books at once and the light was so very beautiful. The windows reach almost from the floor to the ceiling. Hard woods and portrait statues are all around. There are balconies within. If one would not go there to read, she would certainly go there to look. 

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water and trains

I've been giving (real) watercolors a go here lately. In the past, I've done some digital watercolor illustrations before but never the real deal. If you have never tried using real watercolors to paint before, let me tell you that THEY ARE REALLY FRICKEN HARD (to get the hang of). I think the trick is in the layering. I tend to want to apply too much pigment at once instead of taking the time to layer on the colors to get more dimension. I guess I can't be too surprised by that, though. I'm a graphic designer so normally when I do something, it's just done. Watercolor...not so much.

Below is attempt #1. As you can see, I got a bit impatient here and there but overall, I don't think it's too bad for a first time. I worked from a photo I found on Pinterest. I can't remember where the location was, though, and I didn't pin the picture (doh!). All I know is that it's a place where gorgeous tree covered rocks shoot out of green blue water...and I want to go there.  

This is attempt #3. [#2 was so bad that I couldn't bring myself to show it.] When I was a little girl growing up, I remember being able to hear the trains from my bedroom window. In the summer, I would sleep with my head at the foot of the bed to be closer to the window. That way, I could hear them better. Now, as an adult in a new home, I can still hear the trains from my bedroom window, and I'm so very glad. Recently, I spent a good portion of a rainy day in bed reading and relaxed while listening to the trains. It was such a good feeling. That's when I decided I needed to paint a train! I worked from an image also found on Pinterest. Original found here

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spring

So, I really hate vegetables but I really love this photo I took about a week ago of sugar snap peas. iPhone, hooray! Even though it snowed today here in Cincinnati, I look at this photo and think Spring. 

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handmade market at work, #3

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handmade market at work, #3

It's time for the handmade market at work again! This time, I won't be participating in this particular event, but I did have a ton of fun designing the flyer again! This time, it's Valentine's Day themed! You might remember my Fall and Christmas flyer designs that were recently posted, too.

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ahhh, memories

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ahhh, memories

I generally don't believe in making New Year resolutions for myself because, and I'm sure most people can relate, I never seem to obtain them. This year, I've just tried to set a few simple goals for myself...things I'd like to work on here and there. Nothing outrageous or unachievable, I don't think. Recording memories both visually and by the written word (in cursive, at that!) through the use of my sketchbook is at the top of my goal list! Here are some of this year's attempts so far. Hope to keep them coming. :) 

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beauty is embarassing

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beauty is embarassing

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While bedridden and sick last week, like every other human on the Earth right now, I watched a disgusting amount of t.v. Some good, some bad, and some AWESOME. This documentary about Wayne White was definitely in the awesome category. To be honest, I didn't know who Wayne White was before watching the documentary. I had seen his work throughout different times and phases in my life without ever making the connection that it was all by the same guy. If you don't know him either, he was a designer and puppeteer for Pee-wee’s Playhouse back in the 80's and also designed sets for Beakman’s WorldShining Time Station, and other well known children's shows. He's most recently known in the fine arts world for his humorous word paintings. From the way he talks about these paintings in the documentary, he buys original landscape paintings from thrift stores and then paints his typography on top of them. The words, or sayings, are usually humorous and sassy...or they reflect memories about his upbringing in the south. The typography is executed extremely well; you can definitely tell that there is some serious skill with color and painting technique...not that I'm an expert or anything. 

I'm not 100% sure what the overall takeaway of the film is supposed to be, but I am sure of the things that I learned from it. 

  • Stay humble. Wayne has lead such an interesting life and has really made it big in the creative world, yet he is so humble and appears to still be the man that everyone has always known him to be. He doesn't take life or his work too seriously and keeps a playful take on things. I hope that one day, I'll be able to say the same for myself. 
  • Variety is the spice of life. From what I could tell, Wayne has pretty much done it all. Sculpture, painting, design, set design, illustration, art directing, and much more.  When something doesn't work out for you, or you get burnt out, it's time to try something new. 
  • If you don't know how to do something, jump in and figure it out. Wayne openly admitted that he didn't know how to build puppets when it came time to making them for his job. Instead of freaking out and/or researching the subject for hours on end, like I most likely would, he just just jumped right in. His first puppet wasn't exactly built efficiently/correctly, but I bet that he never made those same mistakes again. He wasn't afraid of making something less than perfect, and it still worked out somehow. 

So, yeah. If you're a creative like me, check out this documentary. Learning about Wayne's life made me step back and examine my own creative process and how it affects my every day life. I think that's something all of us creatives need to do from time to time! 

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