It's also interesting to me that it has to be both: Place and Time. Being in the right place at the wrong time affects how you feel about that place. If your strongest impression of San Francisco was the one time you spent a day there and had your bag stolen, your impression may be that San Francisco sucks. I really enjoy Los Angeles and I think that is in part because my first experience there was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Which brings in my third element of memory (and most definitely my illustration work): the individual that is experiencing the place and time.
Objectively, LA is a city. It has a high population for a city in the United States, and it is sunny for the majority of the year. I have friends who can't stand it and friends that love it for the same observations I have just stated. They could be there at the same time, in the same location, and still have opposing reactions.
The piece I've shared above isn't any particular memory of mine, but it is based on my own idyllic recollections of rain and resting. I love that illustration in general draws from the illustrator and their references, but results in new content. Despite the planning and process that goes into a piece, I still am either pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by the result. Even when every element (color, composition, value, texture, etc.) has been accounted for!
If you'd like to see my show in person, and visit one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities, stop by Spyhouse Coffee on Nicollet!
The last few months have been a little bit ridiculous, and it's kept my internet presence to a minimum (it's been kinda nice, actually :P ). BUT! I miss being able to share things! I've been working on a bunch of things. One of them is a solo show that's opening at the Spyhouse next week! I"m really excited, and I'll be posting a few more details about that this coming week, complete with brand new images.
Right now I'm also working on "The Clearing", a comic written by Keith Grauman about a family living in the Minnesotan territory around Civil War era. I can't even begin to say how excited I am for this project. I'll be sharing bits and pieces, but here are a few initial concepts done in ink and ink wash.
Edison is a character I made up for Light Grey's "Great Personality" show, which combines the Meyers-Briggs personality types with dating sims. You can download and play the games for free on Light Grey Art Lab's website. Right now, there's one game, featuring the "Guardians" group of characters, but throughout the upcoming weeks games will be released for the "Rationals", "Artisans", and "Idealists" (Edison is in the Idealists category).
For the game, each artist made a pinup...
Merry Christmas! I hope everybody has had a great one!
This year I drew my sister Anna's name for our family gift exchange, which is excellent, because my sister Anna loves stories and adventures. I made her a painting of a character that has thus far has been dubbed "the Ginger Warrior", but now is officially named Bridgette. I've been working on a project with her (and her companion, the Winter Girl). More of that in 2014!
Here's to a New Year, and all of your families :)
The Light Grey blog does a wonderfully thorough job of describing the whole project (which includes an incredible card game that is available for purchase and play).
Frenchie Bistro is my gamer tag (if I can call it that; I don't play many games and the ones that I do are pretty...well, they're a combination of Phoenix Wright and smattering of free iPhone games.) I didn't make it up myself–I think Chris thought it up–but I like it and I use it for everything, including playing D&D with the Light Grey team.
The place is amazing, the beverages are even more amazing, and there is a good assortment of other edible things too, because Verdant Tea teamed up with guys like Sweet Science ice cream, Real Deal Chocolate, and Birchwood Cafe (all locally made and delicous).
David and Lily (the owners) have two black cats named Loki and Rothko, and the cats drink tea and have preferences. I like tea and I like cats, and I really like illustrating, so I've been sketching cats drinking tea quite a bit. I wanted to make a finished illustration of one of the sketches.
I started drinking tea with my grandma, who served it to me when I was a little kid. I drank it because I thought it was cool. Later I had tea with grandma after particularly rough days in highschool. My parents gave it to me when I was sick in bed or if I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. Lindsay, one of my best friends, introduced me to bubble tea, and we began our friendship over hours and hours of conversation/design work at a tea shop.
I can think of more reasons it has significance to me as I write this. It's more than "something good to drink". Food has that kind of significance, too, but that's for another day.
Victoria explained that characters need to be able to act even before they are designed. It makes a lot of sense–a lot of time little scratch drawings that I find really appealing–even more than my finished work, sometimes–tend to have more "character". Something is happening in those drawings that a person can engage with. It was a good reminder to keep trying to make characters that act before getting caught up in the design.
The Congo is a perfect example of grand and horrifying. It's incredibly lush and beautiful, with hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species. The people of the Congo River Basin are treated brutally, and have been for a long, long time. There are tribes there, though, that live in the rainforest, just as they always have. When I was working on this, I wanted to think about the places that only they have seen, that might be santuaries from human atrocity.
If you'd like to read more about about the project, or order a copy of the book, there's more info on this Light Grey Art Lab blog post.
Anyway, I'm eager to spend more time looking at it one of these days after work. Hernandez himself is coming to the show's reception on August 16th, and it's open to the public! Another reason to visit the Twin Cities this month!
I ended up gutting my tiny sketchbook and replacing the paper with some Canson. It's definitely better for watercolor.
Meg Hunt is getting married! And to celebrate, she's having a gallery show! She asked a bunch of her illustrator friends and peers to make a small piece with "Join Together" as the unifying concept. I've seen a lot of really cute work in the snippets she's been sharing from hanging the show; I can't wait to see them all!
My piece is inspired by a book I like very much. Emma, by Jane Austen, has had quite a few adaptations (including the very 90s film Clueless), and recently I've been admiring stills from the Gwyneth Paltrow version released in 1996. The colors are so good!
Join Together opens at the Land Gallery in Portland, OR on August 9th.
Edit: Meg made a blog post about the show, if you'd like to read more about it.
I'm happy to be a part of Illozine 5, a collaborative zine project headed by James O'Brien! James is an excellent illustrator and teacher–I learned Photoshop and Illustrator in his digital illustration classes back in day. It's only apt that I make this a digital piece, despite a recent watercolor painting repertoire.
Truthfully,I've been working digitally a lot lately. I just haven't been able to share any of it yet. Soon! It seems I'm on a mushy romantic kick, too, as time will tell.
I don't have a complete story for these characters, but I have a couple ideas concerning their backgrounds. It's hard for me to draw people in places and not want to make up a whole big story for them. You get attached, y'know?
A few other related things: You can order the other 4 volumes of Illozine here (or at least, I think you can. They may be sold out.)
You can also get to know James O'Brien better by listening to this episode of the Light Grey Art Lab podcast, which also features another great illustrator, Daniel Fishel. I really enjoyed the interviews' discussions on being a professional illustrator, so if you think that's for you, check it out! Also then you can hear James's NPR voice.
This piece was meant to be a chapter cover for a chapter of a comic I am making and will likely as not have to remake. But that's okay. Lately I've been considering making watercolor comics. I've also been considering working digitally again. Conflicting thoughts. In the meantime, I'll just keep making. Oh! I've also been working on updating my website, so one of these days it's going to look a little different around here. Still having a little trouble importing my blog.
I recently got to work on an illustration project for a theater production of the Curious Savage. The play is near and dear to my heart; I was the stage manager for a production of it in highschool. I loved highschool drama. We had the best teacher and director and we really learned what it meant to make something that you love. It was an excellent opportunity to learn how many people and jobs are involved in making something special, and the feeling you get on opening night is one of the best feelings in the world.
The play is currently showing at the Mirror Theater in North Hollywood! I'm afraid it's a little too far for me to see, but if you do live in the area and you have a penchant for theater, go go go!
Natalie getting something from the pantry–it's probably her turn to make dinner.
A few weeks ago I bought a nice, larger format watercolor sketchbook. It's kind of a challenge these days for me to work larger than my 8" by 6" sketchbook (the paintings I make are pretty tiny, too). Although these are just sketches, already it's just nice to break my typical drawing thought pattern.
I've also been reinvigorated to explore narrative (again). Love stories so much.
It's so cold. SO COLD. At least some fictional people can enjoy sitting on a roof at night. These two guys are characters I made up a long time ago. Every once and awhile they turn up in my illustrations or sketchbooks. They have stories, but for now they get to stand in when I need a subject for an illustration.
All week (and beyond) we've been prepping for the
at Light Grey Art Lab, and I happily got to make a thematic piece of artwork to fill a space that needed filling. Private detectives and secret societies and puzzles and all of that jazz!