Thursday, February 28, 2008

IF "multiple"

I did this digital illustration in PhotoShop two weeks ago in my Art & Technology class blog. Now I'm glad I didn't already post it here... I'm trying not to be too redundant (not that it matters, but I want two separate records of my progress).

Anyway, the original title was "cheesey pop-art" because I love Andy Warhol (I did a report on his life in high school) but I have never done the whole pop-art thing. I also haven't gotten to really play in PhotoShop in a very long time... This class has been really good for that. Really pushing what I already know and trying to bridge fine art and digital art. The original sketch is from a previous post as well. I love being able to revisit things and I am really playing with version-ing in a tangible way. I don't really have a set process yet, but this is how it seems to be coming together: original sketch, digital rendering, original pastel... then maybe I will start compositing and collaging the two together.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

becoming an illustrator?

My last post brought up some thoughts about where I see myself going with my career. I love being a working graphic designer, but I see the limitations looming ahead of me. We just aren't valued unless we bring something else to the table. Employers want to get two positions filled for the price of one and it is like that all over. The jobs that pay well want way more then the extra money is worth. I see all kinds of jobs in different cities and towns that pay $5,000 - $7,000 more/year then what I make now, but that money would barely cover my moving expenses and daycare expenses (I would loose the Grandparent's, thankfully, free daycare). And these jobs want more education and experience then they are really worth. The ones that sound the best to me are the ones that won't have a lot of room to move up in; I went to school so that I could be happy in my profession and that is VERY important to me. If we have to spend 30% of our lives at work (is that the correct percentage?... I think we spend 30% working and 30% sleeping; I spend more then 30% working, though) I am determined to be happy!

So, I think that doing illustration as a free-lancer sounds like the best way to supplement my income... I do it anyway, on my own, because I love to do it! So...

I don't see myself ever being an illustrator of the caliber of the ones featured in 3x3 Magazine, but looking at what great illustrators are doing helps me to put my own talents into perspective and to know what I love to look at and what I enjoy working on. When I think of "illustration" I think tedious... so I need to change my perceptions about it. I'm still figuring all that out, and trying to figure out how to turn what I consider playing into making a living. I just have too many "good ideas" that I get excited about and then they just fizzle out. The best ideas seem to take money to get started, and if I had the money to get started, I wouldn't need to branch out. Although, I must say, that I am not as money motivated as I am driven to create. I just need to figure out how to do one while doing the other!

belated thank you

I just wanted to finally write an official thank you to Annie Patterson (imagine and create illustration blog) for sending me her extra 3x3 Magazine, issue 8, cover pictured below. Annie is an illustrator living on the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. I really love her whimsical illustrations and the beautiful Arctic pictures... the light there is so different then anywhere I have ever seen.

So, THANK YOU, Annie!

I have, of course already thanked her personally... but I wanted to take pictures of the actual magazine for my blog. My camera just isn't good enough, so the picture below is from the 3x3 site... it is a really beautiful publication and they have great galleries featuring the illustrators from their issues. Their is some great eye-candy there. I love to see what these working artists are doing.

I was really impressed with the cover illustrator, Yuko Shimizo. She has some really brilliant, modern, youthful (emo comes to mind) illustrations that have a Japanese wood block feel. Love her work! She is not the same Yuko Shimizo who created Hello Kitty, it says so on her site!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

playing in PhotoShop

I will be the first to admit that I am more comfortable in Illustrator then PhotoShop, but that is changing! I mean, knowing when to use which one is half the battle... I've known that for a while. But when you are more comfortable in something you are able to dig and figure out obscure things, which is where I am with Illustrator. Now the tables are tipping and I am learning all kinds of great PhotoShop tricks in this class. It is also really nice to be able to play and not worry about getting something done/figured out for a deadline.

This is my PhotoShop version of last weeks collage... not happy with the choppiness of the lines, but that is where you would have to choose to do certain elements in another program. But it is great for concepting... I can now take this to another level or in a different direction :) julie

Wearable Art Show Tonight and Tomorrow!

They took the panels away before we were completely finished! It was okay, though, because on Wednesday night we said if we couldn't finish them they looked complete as is. We had wanted to put a visual focal point inside each of the cogs on each panel, oh well.

I have to go down and sign them, and this is ridiculous, but I have anxiety about that. I don't sign my work and it is a habit I learned from AP art in high school. You aren't supposed to sign your work so that you don't get preferential treatment from the judges if they know you. So, I am really bad about that. It just isn't important to me. I also have anxiety about how it will look. I think my crappy little signature ruins the picture, a lot of times... am I the only artist who has this weird hang-up? And, I am okay if I am signing with pen or pastel or pencil, but I don't even know if I can do my signature with paint! I am going to practice. It's not like it has to look exactly like my signature... I'm sure it will be fine.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

mural progress

I've been talking about these enough, and spending enough of my life working on them... I thought I should at least give a glimpse of them. I must just say that the artistic direction has really been helmed by Jay Crondahl and James Voelker; they are both true artists... And even with foam brushes!

Here is the work in progress. Keep in mind that this is made up of five 10'x10' (yes, feet) canvases. It has changed since this picture, so you'll have to come to the Wearable Art Show to see them in person! julie

Sunday, February 03, 2008

cool design sites!

I really need to go to bed! I found this site as I was searching for mechanical renderings (or inspiration for the murals). It is an ultra-mod German site dedicated to new, cool, clever design. Clean mod design clears the senses! It's called and I'm adding it to my inspiration links:) I'm also adding Orla Kiely,, who does the most amazing textile designs and makes really cool (I will own one some day) purses out of her laminated textiles (and really exquisite leather bags for much more $!) I really love her simple leaf designs that are used for the flash intro to her site... and on the bag below. Check it out:) julie

very productive...

Yes, I have been very productive this weekend... which is amazing since I have so much going on. I don't know how I've found the time. Well, I know I skipped a lot of sleep; early this am I did that collage (three posts down). And, I was never able to meet up with anyone to work on the murals, so I worked on some ideas digitally and finished my illustrations. Yay me, again! istock has accepted the arbor and I am now waiting to hear back about my urn and lady liberty from the previous post. The arbor and urn are illustrations that I did in school for my graphics standards manual. I made up a company I called Garden Gate, and did a series of these green illustrations of garden items (no scale wasn't important to me, obviously... now I am questioning it with them right next to each other). I also have an adirondack chair and a glass and brass hanging lantern which I will post later. I love(d) all the things that I chose... they are things that I would love to have in my garden if I had a garden or even a yard!) I will try to get some pictures of the graphics standards manual (my old computer and, thus, my old school files aren't working).

The illustrations themselves have been a little problematic... istock wants all blocks of color and shapes to be closed, but I use a brush tool a lot of the time to get variations in line weight more easily and to give them a more sketchy look. So, I have to go in and close shapes and make sure there aren't any stray lines or points. I has really been a lot of work! So, now when I do a new illustration, I am making sure I do those thing as I work... not too hard to remember unless I am really wrapped up in the moment. julie

recent digital illustration

This is an idea I worked up for the mural project... but the murals have taken another direction! I uploaded it to (for those who don't know... a great source for cheap but professional looking stock). I am trying to get approved (or all three trial illustrations approved) to start uploading and selling my digital illustrations. I figured it would be a good way to get some of my images out there with the least amount of trouble and money! They approved one and declined on two, saying that the style wasn't what they were looking for. Hopefully this one isn't too crazy. I think it would make a great album cover or t-shirt, but I am biased:) like a mother with her children! julie

digital flowers from sketch

Here is my original sketch and digital version of flowers that I drew last year I also made one into a single flower for a repeating background... tested it and it works great! Yay me:) Nothing major just fun (I love the colors... of course they look so much better in the sketch, although you can't tell from the scan). I used prisma color pencils for it, Illustrator for the digital file, and took that into PhotoShop for the repeating background. julie

collage for Art and Technology class

I am stealing this post from my class blog... Too tire to write anything different!

I had to leave class early today... but I didn't want to miss the collage exercise! I wanted to play with a theme I have been kicking around. I love origami paper and have a couple of pieces that I am working on the incorporate the simple origami shape of birds. Until now the bird shapes were left white, because of all the other color going on. In this I used actual origami paper. I thought, it would be good to play with another media and try to get the bird shapes down, since I am thinking about making them 3-d on the canvas. I know it's cheesy, but it was good to work through it this way! (Hope I didn't miss the whole point of the collage assignment:) julie

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I accepted an offer to be a part of a mural project. It is kind of funny, because I am not really a painter and I don't really have much free-time... but it is a great opportunity to work with other artists and collaborate. At first I was the only one that was there to meet with the shows designers and to come up with a direction... so in the interest of getting the project over with as soon as possible with the least amount of disruption in my life, I came up with a concept and a plan to to see that concept through... then the other artists showed up! I have to get my brain out of the idea that I have no time and am not taking care of myself, and just get into the process. It is hard to get my head out of my bills and work and family needs... I am really overwhelmed, but when I let myself get into the process it really is satisfying to see the art and concept emerge. The other artists have been very patient with my hesitation and I appreciate that.

The really eye-opening thing that I have experienced in the last three weeks is that I have realized that even though I work creatively every day, I don't think like a traditional artist; although I think many traditional artists think methodically and conceptually like I do. The mural project being the most recent spring-board to realization, I also received a forwarded email of a spinning silhouette from which you can tell what side of your brain you are using by which way you see it spinning. When I received the email I was taking a break from working on the lay-out for a big project and I saw it spinning clock-wise. I wasn't too surprised; it meant that I was using the left side of my brain (mathematical, relational, analytical). Which means that I spend most of my work life using the left side of my brain. What a rip-off! I thought I was a "creative" and that is how I want to identify myself. But, it makes sense that I have all these "artistic" ideas that are trying to jump out of my head... I am still not getting that side fully-realized at my job. Would I really want to waste my art on work? I don't think so. So, I am happy that I have a "creative" job, but I have realized that I still need to realize my deeper art.

In my Art and Technology class John Fehringer has said that he keeps some of his art to himself and doesn't show it or sell it. He says that he has to separate his art from the art that he sells, because with his the latter he is thinking as he creates it "will this sell?" I am finding myself torn because I want to make my fine-art and sell it (!), so what is left for me? I guess trying to sell what you've made for arts sake is different from making something to sell... but where does the line blur? When everything you make sells? When do you start needing to come up with a different kind of "fine art"?

Anyway, the class and the mural project have been really eyeopening. I would highly recommend taking a class from John Fehringer... he is a really great artist and teacher!