Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sketch Sunday 9

I'm not super tech-savvy, but I do think that I can make a better masthead than the one we have at the moment. During boring meetings, I like practicing my handwriting, usually by writing certain words or combinations of letters over and over again. After writing "inspirimint" over and over again, I've decided that I like this combination of letters.

Creating a logo or signature takes a lot of creative thought and development time. My dad gave me the task of creating a label for his wine. The vineyard is very young—last summer was our first harvest, and we will bottle wine for the first time this upcoming summer. This year, we harvested enough grapes for less than 5 gallons of wine from our young vines. On Friday, we tried a glass of both his wine and the neighbors' , who have been doing this for decades. To my (pleasant) surprise, his wine tasted a lot better than our neighbors'!

Graphic design and illustration are very disparate fields, and although I have drawn for so many years, I feel like I don't have the right skill set for logo design yet. I remember reading and being inspired by this article a while back, so I started out by just sketching a bunch of ideas without really committing to anything. In fact I began by simply writing the word "Casa" over and over again. By the time I got to my third page, I could feel the flow of the word better, and was building more on its shape.

This design is far from complete, and I will be working on this project for the next couple of months. If you have any suggestions as to how I should proceed or what more I can do with the label design, I would love to hear them! I am really proud of my dad for making such a wonderful wine, and want to support him by making the best wine label I can.

Here are two sketches of a chibi Elle Driver. I was trying something different—something more cartoon-y. I like her pose on the left, but I love her face and expression in the sketch on the right. Elle has such a great character design!

Last week, I also revisited this old sketch. I added a bit more line width and depth to this picture from the previous Sketch Sunday. Nothing too exciting, but I like the way the lines flow a lot more, so I thought I'd share it here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watercolor Wednesday 6

Last week, a friend of mine insisted that I watch Disney's 1941 version of The Reluctant Dragon. The results were disastrous, as immediately after watching it I found myself doodling scads of goofy, effeminate serpents. I settled on one I really liked and then, for reasons I will never be able to truly comprehend, decided that I wanted to add tons and tons of details.

Treasure, for example—After drawing a number of piles of coins, it occurred to me that although drawing lots and lots of the same thing over and over again is a bit aggravating, it would be even more aggravating to paint those things. I scoured the portion of my mind that values shiny material possessions for ideas, and failing that, I did an image search for "treasure." It didn't help!

So now there's STILL a ton of coins all over, but I'm not going to pull my hair out when I get around to painting them. ...Maybe. We'll see.

So! Here it is, in all its unfinished glory. When I go into these paintings lately I like to test out the colors on a scrap of paper, which is helpful when I'm trying to come up with a color scheme or figure out how I'm going to layer the paint. I was initially hesitant to paint the guy purple, but then I slowly came to the realization that there is no other color more appropriate for narcissistic fantasy creatures!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now on Twitter!

So like so many others, I too have succumbed to Twitter. I mainly post things I find that are interesting enough to share, but not substantial enough for a full blog post. Let me know what you think!

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, here is a fun little video for your entertainment:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fowls of a Feather by Wes Johnson

This beautiful and unique video of birds on power lines was shot by photographer Wes Johnson. The movement of the flocks is so lyrical and the way the birds fly along the wires for places to sit reminds me of animated musical notes. It interested me that there is more than one "flock" along the stretch of power lines in this video. For example, there is one group of birds on the far left that always fly together, and their flight does not affect and is not affected by birds next to them.

A good photographer knows where to be at the right time, what to look for when he sees it, and how to capture it to show his audience. Although this video depicts something commonplace, it is still captivating to those who can appreciate beauty in small mundane events.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sketch Sunday 8

This week, I started out drawing a girl with her hair blown in the wind, but the more I worked on it, the more it began to resemble Pepper Breeze by Artgerm. In this picture, I really wanted to draw heavily layered hair. I don't know why but I love drawing curly hair, even though I have such a hard time getting it to look right. Here, I got a little lazy with the curls which is why some parts look curly, while other parts only look wavy or even straight. As I was inking this picture, I was reminded why I like drawing girls with short hair. What kind of hair do you like drawing?

(This picture was inked using Copic brand pens and colored on photoshop.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

10 Fun Salt & Pepper Shakers

Legos (for sale at the Lego shop)

Why do salt and pepper shakers come in such interesting and fun designs? The minimal restrictions and instant recognizability make them an extremely versatile design medium. They are universally recognized as pair of matching containers with holes, and one can simply apply a couple of distinguishing characteristic and—Voilà!

Black and white is a common theme for obvious reasons—salt is a white crystal while crushed pepper is a grainy mix of black and brown. Sometimes red, which is often associated with spice, is used instead of black. The good and evil shakers below are a conceptually clever pair that uses minimal characteristics to communicate contrasting concepts.

Good & Evil pair

What else out there comes in duets?

Why, the two hemispheres of the brain, of course! I must admit, whenever someone asks me to name a pair of something, what comes to mind is usually not the two halves of a brain. Interesting concept? Yes. Creepy for the dinner table? A little—depending on your guests and their tolerance for the macabre, of course.

Hug by Scott Henderson

I love the design of Hug. Unlike many salt and pepper shakers, it not only effectively contrasts between the two holders, but also combines them into one unified piece. Plus, the positive theme makes me really happy.

Icosa by TaiDesign

Icosa is inspired by the icosahedron, and the only distinction between the salt and the pepper is the number of holes. I have had a couple of disagreements with friends as to which condiment belongs to the shaker with more holes.

A quick search on Google yielded this helpful site, which states that either can be correct. Personally, I like having salt in the shaker with less holes because salt pours out faster and more evenly than pepper does. More holes for the pepper means the two can be shaken at approximately the same rate and yield similar flow rates. However, some argue the other way around because more people prefer the taste of salt and would apply more to their food than they would pepper. Which way do you swing? Even flow or more salt?

Wood salt & pepper shakers at Branch (via happy mundane)

Steampunk S+P holders from Russia

Rubik's Cube S+P mills

Okay, so technically mills are not the same thing as shakers, but these are so much fun that I had to include them here! The farthest I have ever gotten with a Rubik's Cube is one side, so for people like me, it's a good thing you don't need to solve them in order to sprinkle some salt and pepper onto your food!

DIY nesting doll shakers from Design*Sponge

These do-it-yourself shakers are such a creative idea! They are made from blank Matryoshka nesting dolls. These are wonderfully versatile because you can put more than just salt and pepper—you simply need to drill holes however large you need them to be. Full directions for this fun and crafty idea at Design*Sponge.

At our dinner table, we use one set of shakers but own another set of mills. Which do you prefer? Or do you prefer spice blocks instead? I've never owned one before, and would love to hear what it's like! Links to other cool salt and pepper shakers welcome in the comments section.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Watercolor Wednesday 5

Aside from a number of early Fleischer Brothers cartoons that proudly wore their insanity on their sleeves, one of my biggest artistic inspirations is TEETH. Maybe it has something to do with the way they affect our perception of other people, sometimes more so than other prominent facial features.

This week's picture was another exercise in slowly building up lots of layers of color. It helps to first apply water to large areas that you want to fill with the same color, and for some reason I routinely forget this! It's not as alarming as I'd like it to be (if you find that hard to believe I don't blame you) but there's always next time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Watercolor Wednesday 4

Hello there, readers! Last week I felt a sudden surge of inspiration that made me feel unusually and wonderfully ambitious. Naturally, the universe then saw fit to strike me down for my hubris by giving me a nasty head cold that was going around work.

Anyway: I started off with a slew of doodles. The guys in the bottom left corner bear a passing resemblance to my dog! Not much came from this page, just a lot of tossing ideas around on paper.

Onto the second page of doodles: mostly creepy cartoon animals (surprise!) and, if you squint, a teeny tiny gestural doodle of a dancing rollerblading guy that lives in my neighborhood—whom I affectionately refer to as "Rollerblade Dancer." I finally settled on "stuffed animals playing cards" for the actual drawing I was going to finish up and paint, and that's what the larger drawing on this page is from.

For this week's painting I decided to avoid the hassle of erasing a ton of construction lines! The paper I use doesn't take to erasers very well, so I always end up with at least a few faint smudges here and there. I sketched out the images until I was happy with them, and then traced them onto watercolor paper using a light table. I have absolutely no idea why I didn't try this sooner, as it worked like a charm! No fussing around with erasers at all.

Technique-wise, I didn't do a lot of new things with this piece besides dabbing the paint on to create a mottled fabric look on the lion. I'm probably going to paint more of these guys in the future and try arranging them in front of some sort of background.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sketch Sunday 7

Hope everyone had a good week! Here are three doodles I did during a very boring meeting this week. It's always a fun challenge to sketch with only what you have. I used a company pen on the back of printed meeting notes to sketch these, but the biggest obstacle was drawing on my lap.

Sometimes when my mind wanders, I like to doodle poses. Most of the time they are simple and feminine, but sometimes I will try to work on things like perspective. The types of poses that transfer best from imagination to paper for me are things that I am familiar with. I have quite a few years of martial arts experience, and will often default to poses from kata, or forms. Does anyone else do this?

This week, I re-watched the second volume of the Kill Bill series. I really like Elle Driver's character design and did a sketch from her encounter with Budd. I feel like I should have explored more stylistic possibilities than I did with this sketch, but didn't realize it until I finished inking the picture. Don't you hate it when that happens? I guess there's always room to explore.