Archive for the ‘illustrations’ Category

Project #261 – Fall Leaf Paintings

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I fully recognize that I’m not talented when it comes to drawing and painting. I spend a lot of time doing both because I enjoy them, but I usually end up drawing cartoons because I’m terrible at drawing things from real life.

Still, I’ve learned some shortcuts so that I can make nice things without getting mad at myself for my inability to translate real things to paper. My favorite technique for making me look like I have more talent than I actually do is to make watercolor leaf paintings.

The sneaky trick is to find a bunch of really pretty fall leaves and then trace them. Once that’s done it’s really easy to draw in the network of veins and suddenly I have a decent drawing from nature.

I usually draw on in plain white index cards. They’re the perfect size to give away as thank you cards and the limited size keeps this project short and sweet.

Next I put down an initial wash of color. It’s okay to color outside of the lines because it’s nature and nature is messy. For real, yo!

Next, but on a second coat of contrasting fall color. It will look weird at first, but through the magic of watercolors the washes will blend and dry in a way similar to leaf coloring.

Put on subsequent washes of color over smaller and smaller areas to give the leaf depth. With practice it’s easy to do a bunch at a time and spend less than ten minutes on each.

Project #208 – Coffee Fabric

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

This is another one for free swatch day. It’s a fabric design for people who really, really like coffee.

Project #207 – Office Supply Fabric

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Honestly, my dream job would be to be a fabric designer. I’ve spent plenty of my time screen printing my own proofs, but now with the advent of custom fabric printing at Spoonflower a lot of the drudgery has been removed. I don’t even have to worry about registering prints or reducing designs to one or two colors.

Spoonflower will be having a free sample day tomorrow. Customers will be able to order up to two test swatches of fabric for free and have an option to donate to Heifer International.

I’ll be playing pretend fabric tycoon for the next day or two while I try to beat the free swatch deadline.

Project #204 – Stereo Fabric

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

There is one really, really good stereo store in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh. Clark loves to listen to high-end stereo equipment, and was really exited about taking a trip out there try out what they have.

The storefront is crammed with dozens of stereo components that ranged from prices I would expect to ones that were kind of scary. One of the stereo set-ups in the store literally costs more than our house. I really mean literally, as in $$$ for stereo > $$$ for house. I couldn’t listen to it for more than a few minutes without feeling overstimulated and sick, but Clark was happy to sit in a chair directly in front of the speakers and listen to music for nearly half an hour.

I’m supposed to have better hearing than Clark, but frankly, I couldn’t tell the difference between any of it. The $1000 speakers sounded the same as the $5000 speakers, and those sounded the same as the $30,000+ speakers. He listened to several songs all of them and compared them to sitting in different spots a concert hall. I just felt overwhelmed by the sound and couldn’t wait to drive home in our silent car.

To pass the time while Clark listened I pulled out my notebook and drew quick sketches of the faces of most of the stereos in the store. It was interesting to note that most of the components did the same three or four jobs, but no two had the same button configuration.

I turned my sketches into a fabric that I printed on Spoonflower. Our second anniversary is coming soon, and the traditional gift is cotton. I think this will fit the bill.

Project #203 – Ms. Giraffe

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Holy crap. I cannot draw animal feet to save my life. Are there life drawing classes out there where people just sit around drawing feet all day?

Project #202 – Copic Marker Drawings

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

When I was younger I was convinced that I was a genius and without hesitation I would be able to pick up any musical instrument and play perfectly without hesitation. I would look at a piano or an violin and imagine myself playing them, my hands moving expertly. However, in reality, every time I touched a musical instrument nothing but screechy noise came out.

However, if there ever was ever an instrument built that I could pick up and play without any prior practice…it would be a marker.

I’ve been watching demos of Copic markers on youtube and drooling over what they can do. They’re like watercolors in a pen, capable of blending and layering color in ways that ordinary markers cannot. Both of the illustrations above were done by a single marker. I’m in love.



These markers are super pricey, so I only purchased a few for this initial trial. The cheapest ones in Pittsburgh, cheaper than on the internet, even, can be found at the CMU art store.