Tuesday, August 30, 2011

oh &

my parents stopped by here once when i was a little kid & we were taking a long trip. beautifully hewn, i really recommend walking through it if you ever find yourself in kansas. the obsessiveness of it, & the commitment it must of taken to finish made a deep impression on me. it was also the first time i got the chance to look at a dead body & decided against it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

project 3 : illustration 1: what’s missing/if you touch the walls, the water comes through

Create an illustration in response to the State of the Union. Consider what you have declared/discovered about yourself and your identity as an illustrator. You may have uncovered areas or subjects that are very important to you but which are not represented in your portfolio. This piece can be the first attempt to remedy that. Subject, technique, size, and format are open. Critiqued 9/8, due 9/15.

i felt as if i needed to stretch myself to make a piece that is more personal & philosophical, executed at a larger scale.
my initial ideation:

left side was notes from a liberal studies class, the human & the divine, but applies to my topic well enough to be included. 
--if this is unclear, i was considering a rather cynical & wild-eyed illustration of some (too many) of the theories i like best of what i've studied of comparative mythology.

halfway through thinking it over, i remembered a dream i had written down almost two years ago, after falling asleep every night for a week listening to joseph campbell lectures.

i had the idea of my piece (not "larger than half my body!" but 22"x 15", still very big for me, & large for a watercolor painting.)  as a garden of eden scene, perhaps a veiled one. but finding this recount, i think the image could act as an illustration to the dream. if i execute it well it would be something i'd like to keep, as a handmade piece of my jungian "personal myth".  i would have to clean it up a bit, but i think the imagery is something i can work with.

post six

What sort of an illustrator are you? a burgeoning children's book illustrator and author.
What sort of career do you want to have? see above/ one that means i can eventually quit my day job,  take up an overstuffed-armchair, grandpa's pipe-smoking side project. maybe i'll hit upon the perfect synthesis of childrens' illustration & adults' hypnosis.
Does your present body of work reflect your aspirations? Could it do so more strongly? probably more than i'd like it to. these things need to be handled gently. strongly/subtly. i'm in the computer lab & everyone seems to be angry, rushing around & shouting. does my art communicate that i am a girl who someday would like her own internet access?
List ten images/themes/techniques/subjects/formats that your portfolio needs in order to become more in line with your aspirations. 
topical, coherent work with quiet commentary on modern issues.
relaxed & organic hand, larger scale work.
mythological themes.
philosophical themes.
journalistic elements.
more attention to contemporary design.
better control of digital design systems.
more books! more books! more books!
more books!

post five

If you had to spend the rest of you life illustrating one book, what would it be? Why? lord of the rings, because of it's breadth, imagery & timelessness. after reading other tolkien works, (leaf by niggle,  father christmas letters etc) i feel as if he has a similar aesthetic to mine, expressed in different mediums; or conversely his influence on me was just that great. for what seems my whole childhood i would read the trilogy --or have it read to me, when i was too young-- once every year.  i could never get sick of trying to illustrate the tree whose roots tried to eat merry and pippin. it's modern mythology, too complex to be easily dissected & tapped, & i could trust it to keep me drawing.
If you could go apprentice with any two artists in the history of the world, who would they be? Why? beatrix potter, for her humility, frankness, & pets. maurice sendak, (i read caldecott & co last week), for his analytical perspective, sense of purpose & intense respectability. not to mention my eyes eat everything he draws.
If you were banned from the art world, but could have any career you wanted that wasn't in art, what would it be? Why? comparative mythologist/anthropologist because, socio-philosophical travel writing. what could be more engaging & adventurous & my own. & when i'm not doing that, i would be lying around in overstuffed chairs smoking my grandpa's old pipe & reading important stories all the time. for my job. 
Describe the project you would propose under the following circumstances. Describe the project in detail: what would it be, how would you spend the money, how would you schedule the time alloted, and how would the work be presented upon completion? 
1.) You have one month and one thousand dollars (all of which must be spent on art expenses). i would revisit the lemniscate island book i made over the summer for the horn island exhibition & make it something truly publishable, enlisting the paid help of friends for binding & professors for advice & hiring a professional to help me get it somewhere.
2.) Six months and ten thousand dollars. i would buy a flatbed cylinder press, a laser-cutting printer (used) & self-publish a three-part series of silhouette books based upon a mythologized childhood story of my own & the ones belonging to my two best friends, told with subtle magical realism with few words & visually evocative of a distant memory/clinical testing facility posters. it would be made up of white ink on black paper, glimpses of raven-wing colors, pure & innocent through & through. i would plan two months for each book, though more likely it would mean starting slow & revving up as i became familiar with the equipment & the deadline.
3.) One year and one hundred thousand dollars.  in the first seven months i would do the above projects, then build myself a roving library of other artists' similar works that i could hook up to the back of a shiny new red bike & tour the country with, looking all squeaky clean & muscular in the legs & charming parents everywhere, saying my own name a lot. 
i figure the rest of my career could just take off from there after all that, but if it didn't, really, who cares.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

post four

List ten illustrators whose work you admire, or whose career you would like to emulate. Provide images. 

marcel dzama
maurice sendak
beatrix potter
maxfield parrish
windsor mccay
arthur rackham
edmund dulac
henry darger
aubrey beardsley
egon schele
Who are their clients? What sort of work do those clients look for? 
the artists i chose illustrated mostly gift-books of classic literature for children, made imagery for comic or satirical serials or just made art alone, compulsively, as a kind of salve for a psychological disorder.
Go to a bookstore with a large magazine section, like Barnes & Noble or Borders. Find at least ten magazines that you think you could work for. Consider both the content of the magazine and the type of illustration, if any, that they use. Record they names of the art director and any assistant art director's listed, and their contact information. especially cabinet. i would love to work for cabinet.
If you were starting your own magazine and your livelihood depended on it selling well and your sanity depended on it being something you wanted to spend all you time on, what would it be? something like that, an arts-&-thoughts journal with science news & creative short stories & drawings & creepy things that weren't supposed to be art until someone claimed them as that & it would be me, i would do the claiming. it would probably be a mess. it would be called, softteeth.
What sorts of writers and artists would you hire? What subject matter would it deal with? How would you want it to look? a. good ones, of course. or ones crazy enough that no one could tell. b. truth above beauty, but both, & attempts at weaving them fairly. c. dark blue
List ten non-magazine clients that you would like to work with. Why are these dream clients? Find and record their contact information. i'd like to illustrate many of the same pieces the golden-age artists above did; things like arabian nights & shakespeare, classic fairytales, regional folklore etc with my own interpretation & the sense of being a part of a much greater whole. but if she ever did need anything illustrated, i would love to work for amy hempel. if stanley donwood ever dies, i would love to draw for radiohead. others are etgar keret, amanda davis, eliot pearlman, rick bass,  mark z danieleweski & kevin brockheimer.

fourth three drawing/post three

only it's six, because i'm really, really bad at this one.

Describe your typical creative process, from getting an assignment to finished piece. even for personal work, i tend to follow the process i originally learned from joel; research on the subject, freewrite ideation, thumbnails, two or three larger sketches, color studies on them, then the drawing & color applied at scale.
Describe what you think your creative process should be like. like the above, but with more time for thought between steps, & documentation, & bringing myself to ask for feedback from client or professor rather than locking the whole thing up in a tiny sketchbook tied shut as if exposure to daylight would damage it.
Research and describe a professional creator’s creative process.  in our interview last spring, annie ericsson told me: 
I start by gathering photo reference, then make sketches using a hard pencil. I'm awful at keeping sketchbooks, so usually I work on whatever size loose paper feels right! When I have a detailed outline of the image, I either redraw it on an Arches cold press watercolor block, or trace it onto a single sheet of heavy paper using a light box. Then, I plan in advance which order I'll layer the watercolors. The trick is to paint one color at a time, starting from the lightest, broadest blocks of color (initial washes, sky, and highlights), to local color, to the darkest and most detailed areas. Once I mix each color in individual ceramic nesting bowls, I grab my brushes and two big jars of water, and get painting!

post two

Of the artwork that you have done, what is your personal favorite piece (include an image of the piece with details)? Why do you like it? this is a preliminary sketch from years ago, i drew from a photo i staged with the girl who came to be my best friend, here in memphis. we duct-taped that baby to a window in appropriation of an illuminated manuscript image of st. bridget of sweden. my technique was at it's best here for the time i executed it, & then the finished acrylic painting was a mess-- but i intend to have this taped up to the inside of the door to my closet forever.
What piece do other people like most? Do you agree? Why do you think they like it? i've found lot of positive reactions (& made some money) from the pressure prints i did in secret while i was taking book-arts & had access to the letterpress. there's some you can look at here. i liked them too, but i think they are so popular because of their simplicity, clarity of imagery & aesthetic draw-- pressure prints look cool & trendy. it would have been hard for me to mess these up once i got the hang of the machinery, & i could make so many at once it felt a little like cheating. 
goddamn, though, i miss that letterpress machine. i could make the most beautiful books, now, & fight c in earnest if she tried to stop me.
What piece surprised you the most? a landscape i made last year for b's class, when i was using the process of decalcomania to build layers of mountains. the best one was figurative & abstract, the mountains used across the bottom of a cut-paper panorama that read left to right from the profile of a sleeping face, part-child part-mountain. i was so sure i could never make it work, & then it did.
Choose five doodles or sketches that you like as much as any of your finished pieces. the one above more than any other, but here's a few more

this is this

i'm mentioned by name, right next to michelle's!

words on the HI27 show
"despair gives way to whimsy"

....but i'm not sure it has to; if anything, mca has taught me those two things are not mutually exclusive.

expressive human figures

have alway been a struggle for me. here are some recent tries 
(pencil drawn at work & in margins of class notes)

& here's a sketch of the wedding invitation i'm working on for a pair of friends. ideally, i won't make gill look like a pedophile, but it's a challenge. marian's got the loveliest little babyface.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

second three drawings

i'm no good at drapery & fabric textures, & trying to draw them feels like grinding my teeth. these are three textural sketches from last night, from things around the livingroom of a friend's.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

questions & answers 1

What media do you like working in? List them.  graphite, ink, watercolor, cut paper, collage.
What media do you hate working in? Why? oil paint, digital, both because i am so inexperienced in them i don't feel like my time is being well used. gauche, because of the crazy handling, cost & opacity, it makes me just want to watercolor.
What media would you like to try, but haven't? i wish i had gotten the chance to experiment more with textiles, try surface design & more three dimensional media.
List three non-Illustration classes that have influenced you and/or your work positively. Explain. The drawing foundations at the school of course helped me refine my technique, & watercolor class made clear to me that that would be my color medium of choice. sculpture, especially the reductive work we did with soapstone, helped me consider mass & form over complete dependence on contour line in my drawing. 
How has the work of your peers influenced you and your work? since the years of classes we've spent together, i feel i am held accountable to what they know i'm capable of & have grown to trust their understanding of my aesthetic, however different it may be from their own. certain specific students' work inspire me in different ways depending on the piece.
What sort of subject matter do you like to create work about? i mean to illustrate children's stories, but am specifically interested in ones with magical-realistic style of fantasy, classic fairy-tales, animals and natural environments.
What sort of subject matter do you like to read about? nonfiction on comparative mythology & religion, fairy tales & their analysis, short stories, philosophical fiction (hermann hesse, milan kundera etc), and magical realism (toni morrison, etgar keret, gabriel garcia marquez, african and native american folktales) 
What kind of music do you like? Why? art-rock (radiohead, explosions in the sky, sigur ros etc) narrative-based songwriting (folk music, tom waits) & bouncy indie songs. they just appeal to the sensibilities i have.
What non-art related interest/hobbies/skills do you have? bike riding, sewing, collecting things i find on the ground, journaling.
What is something that you like that nobody else likes? i don't doubt it.
If you had the run of the world's museums, what three works of original art would you like to own? i'll have to do some research & come back to this one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

first three drawings

these i did in class, & showcase two weaknesses: expressive human postures & character consistency in sequential work.

day one

anyone looking at this, knows what it is.