Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tis the Season!

I missed last weeks blog post because I've been a busy little bee. I recently received a commission to make a pair of dolls for the same lovely couple that I had previously made dolls for. I also have a magazine assignment that I was working on at the same time. I have to learn to manage my "free" time with my "work" time. I was able to do my assignments on time, but I didn't make any to keep my blog up to date.

Anyway, the call came in to make a pair of whimsical dolls of mom and dad, and include all the kids, too. From the information I received about the recipients, they seemed like pretty swell people. Silly, fun and lighthearted. So that's how I wanted to represent them in doll fashion. They are also Oregon Ducks fans, so I worked the team's colors into dad's Hawaiian shirt.

The four "kids" are represented by tiny Ducks, but I changed the appearance of each kid "Duck" based on personality cues I got from my client.

Rough draft sketch
Body part layout plan.
Mid-painting process shot.
Cut out and assembled.
Final version with everyone assembled and arranged on the background.
Duck detail.
Final. Complete with smudgy fingerprint (that was hopefully removed before delivery)
I found this great shadowbox at Craft Warehouse. I really like the
color of the stain on the wood. Originally, my fiance was planning
to make a shadowbox from scratch for this project, but we're still in
the planning and designing stages. He didn't want to give my client
a shadowbox that he wasn't proud of.

I have a couple of ideas floating around for some dolls as a personal project, but something I'd love to share with others. But first I have to finish another paying gig. A creative girl could totally get used to this! I love that I feel like I'm being a productive person, and although, I'm not raking in a ton of dough, it's enabling me to be able to purchase supplies, which continue to allow me to create!

These last handfull of doll projects have really motivated me to put myself out there for custom portrait dolls. I've always been a little hesitant to offer portrait-based dolls because I'm really finicky when it comes to portraits. I want the image I'm creating to look EXACTLY like the person it's supposed to be. But with cartoony style drawings, there's a little more leeway when it comes to resemblance. What do you think?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dolls Galore!

I promised that I would share the doll that sparked a mass commission fest for me. I did it as a gift because my friend Evan is a great small business owner, loves what he does and inspired me to take my love of art and work toward opening a brick and mortar store in Vancouver. While life has me tied down right now, I'm in the serious planning stages for this venture. Anyway, Evan is a great guy and has been commissioning me like crazy. I can't complain!

So here he is:

I don't have any photos of his rough sketches, but here's his final body part layout before I started painting.

Painted and cut and ready to be assembled!
Paper chosen, body assembled and doggies applied!


Another angle before they go in a frame.

Here he is with his pups in their frame.

We (I say "we" in the sense of my fiance and I) are attempting to make shadowboxes by hand for this next commission I'm working on. I think making them ourselves is a great way to keep everything handmade and lets us work together. He's excited about working with his hands, which then makes me more excited to work. I love partnerships!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the Meantime

I'm a week behind on my self-imposed weekly blog posting. BUT, I'm doing it far more often than I used to. So there.

I just started another paper doll commission, and I couldn't be happier. I really enjoy creating these for people. It really fuels my creative fire to know that something I've created is making someone (or more than one person) happy. I've said it over and over again that this IS why I do what I do.

My last commission was from a friend that I had made a doll for. He loved his so much that he wanted to have me make one for his hubby. They're one of my favorite couples, so how could I resist?

It's tough creating art for an artist. The subject of my paper doll is also a doll artist, but more of a three-dimensional sort. I've learned to overcome my paranoia of doing portraits or portrait-type images of people other than myself. I'm such a perfectionist that I worry that the faces won't turn out looking EXACTLY like the person it's meant for.
This is my third commission that is supposed to resemble the subject of the art.

So while I'm working on this new commission, I'll share images of my last one.

Just hanging out, getting ready to be assembled!
A simple progress layout. Photo, sketch and final product.
I included images of his work with him.

Finished product inside his shadowbox.

Next week, images of the doll that I created for his husband!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Progress post

Now that we're in the home stretch of buying our first house (the bank accepted our offer, the home inspection came back ok, now we have to wait for the VA to send out an appraiser), I decided to pick up some work that's been sitting (or leaning, rather) against my art table for the past year and a half while I wrapped up my thesis.

This blog post is dedicated to a couple progress images of the couple of projects that I'm working on. Since I have such a hard time dedicating 100% of my time to one project. I'll find something that frustrates me, and have to move on to another project.

I think there is a good side to working like this. It keeps me interested through the times that I want to just sit and stare out the window, and it gives me a chance to work on different techniques at the same time.

On to what I'm working on!

I'm recreating a piece I did for a class that was in gouache and ink. But since I think she mirrors my pin ups, I figured I'd give her a chance digitally. I still have a lot of anatomy fixes to make before I finalize.

This is a crappy cell phone image of a paper doll that I've been working on since last summer.  At this point, I'm playing with colors and layout. As soon as I've figured out how it will be finalized, I'll scan and shrink this doll to about 8x10 and put it in my shop. I think it's going to be a fun little piece.

I started a series of sketches in 2007 based on the Moirae or the Three Fates. This is Clotho, who was responsible for spinning the thread of human life. She also made major decisions, such as when a person was born, thus in effect controlling people's lives. I wanted to create a series of three, one for each Moirae all depicted as a contemporary woman whose subculture matches the sentiment of each Fate. Since Clotho is basically a mother, creator, life giver, I depicted her as a pregnant woman with dreads. She's a nature lover and her tattoos are symbolic of the energy of the piece. I will also include birds that are also symbolic of each Moirae. The other two will remain a secret until I have sketches of them.

Lastly is an image that isn't a piece of work, but something I'm housing work in. I bought two 19x19 shadowbox frames from IKEA this summer with the intent of putting birds in them. But as my heart works have grown in popularity, so has the desire to have one for our own home. So I'll be creating a big heart for this box with a bunch of added extras. I can't wait to continue working, but I also can't wait to see how all of these turn out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Sweet As Candy"

I always feel a bit giddy when I finish a pin up. Sort of like the feeling I've made some significant change in my appearance and I'm debuting for the first time. Maybe that's too serious of an analogy. It's like sharing a secret I've been keeping. I've found the basis of some of my happiness and it's portraying happy ladies!

I've always been infatuated with the See's Candy™ uniforms. Ever since I was young. Each holiday season I've been tempted to put in an application to work there purely for the cute uniforms. I found a black shirt-dress at Kohls several months ago that resembled a See's uniform, but very simple. I was so excited I took a bunch of photos in it. Yeah, I was teased mercilessly, but I'm totally ok with that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Machanica anatomica

It's been a bit since I've posted anything on my blog. I don't have any exciting excuses other than we've been house shopping and that's sucked the creative juices out of me for a long time. I recently sold some work and the same client commissioned me to do some work for her as a gift to her loved ones.

Since my thesis, I've been obsessed (I say this in a creative obsession sort of way) with creating images to be stored in shadowboxes. My paper dolls, or anatomical hearts.

Hearts aren't a new subject for my work. I've been trying to find ways to squeeze them into my work for a long time. Usually they're just the simple symbolic representation. But lately I've been taking that up a notch. The anatomical machine that is the heart.

I'm not the first to depict the heart as a machine. I'm not doing anything avant garde. But this is my own passion. I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of drawing, painting and assembling. My creative space and process would probably make Henry Ford proud.

Enough chit-chat, lets get to the creation porn.

This is the first project that I've done in a while where I didn't sketch out my image before applying it directly to the paper. So, just in case, I made three different versions to see which one would look the best.
TV personality and chef Bobby Flay once said something that stuck with me. It wasn't about art of course, it was about food. Basically, he said that when you're making pancakes, always throw out the first one because it will definitely be a flop. This seemed to ring true to my "on the fly" painting project. The image on the right is the first heart I started painting. The one on the left is one that I was half-heartedly (sorry, bad pun) painting at the same time. It wasn't until I finished that I realized I didn't really like the way that my first one turned out and I turned my attentions to the heart that became the final piece of art.
Beginning stages of paint on the third and final heart.

Close to completion. Just a few minor details.
I added some "rusty" areas, and blended shadows and reds better.
Cut and laying on my mat, ready to be attached to the background.
Arranging the heart over the background, trying to find the best placement for it.
The frame that I purchased originally came with brackets that you wrapped hanging wire around to mount to the wall. The brackets overlapped the background image and were really distracting (you can see them in the image above this one). I removed them and installed a sawtooth bracket and it's much better. Lesson learned.

I'd like to thank my client, who ordered this out of love for her dear friends and gave me the opportunity to share my work with other creative souls and to share the process with my readers, fans and loved ones. I really can't wait to share more with the world!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

IF - Imperfect

I'm using a mockup doll of my thesis project for this week's Illustration Friday.

I'm slowly learning to accept, and even love my imperfections. It's these imperfections that make me a nicer, kinder and more understanding person. I'll never be skinny,  I'll never look how society expects me to look, and that's "perfectly" ok with me.

I create paper dolls, they are my new obsession. My senior thesis was dedicated to the construction of large  female paper dolls of diverse body shapes to represent empowered, beautiful women. This one is a small version of the doll that I created of myself. I then drew a self portrait and attached it behind vellum. I then mounted my paper doll to the portrait.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's been a while

I've been so focused on my thesis blog and working on my thesis that I haven't had a chance to do too many personal projects. Ok, ANY personal projects.
But this project isn't personal, and it's been in the making for a while now. I made some time to get it finished for a friend of mine.
I'm very pleased with the way she turned out. It's a much different experience creating a  pin up for someone else rather than myself. This is my second, and hopefully not my last pin up commission.

The bicycle is based off of a 1925 Royal Enfield Ladies Bicycle (if you follow such things:

I had an amazing time working on her and researching dress, shoes and bikes!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

IF - Sweater

The past two assignments for class have been to do Illustration Friday themes. Which is great because I haven't had the chance to do any for a while.
I hope I can squeeze a couple in this semester. But that's after I get thesis stuff done, and a commission I thought I'd be through with. (Off to work on that!)

Theme of this IF is sweater.

Don't you hate it when your stuff shrinks in the wash?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The boy and I SAY we don't celebrate Valentines day, but we do in our own, lazy fashion.

We try to make it a point to leave notes and tell each other how much we care as often as possible. While I like the sentiment behind the "holiday", I don't think anyone should spoil their loved one on a single day. It should happen as often as possible.

I also don't like how commercialized that it's become (or may have always been). Making people feel bad if they don't drop a pretty penny on some material object, cheap candy or flowers that will die.

But I used it as an excuse to make something for my love. Well, because that's just the way it works.

I was just going to pop in to the thrift store to see what kind of books they had. I had an idea to hollow out a book and turn it into a frame. But after looking through what they had, I wasn't impressed.
Until I looked at their murder-mystery section. I happened upon a book called "Heartsick" and while the title was timely, I didn't think it was appropriate. Next to it was "Sweetheart" and the lightbulb went off over my head. This was PERFECT.

I made the mistake of checking out frames while I was there (as I'm wont to do) and found some cute little shadowboxes. They weren't the size I wanted for the heart project, but something told me to buy them. I paced back and forth trying to decide. The shadowboxes are only about 3x3 and that's a bit small for what I had in mind.

I said "screw it" and bought the two boxes, the book and a cheap plastic Baroque-looking frame.

I haven't had a lot of time to do personal projects, so I had to start on this on Friday while the boy was at work. But I was carving the pages out while he was downstairs cooking on Saturday. Needless to say, the pages didn't cut straight because the book was so thick. Perfect for my project, not so good for cutting straight (I can't even draw a straight line).

I finally finished while he was playing Call of Duty across the room from him. It was anticlimactic, but I really liked making it.

Just a book



I really like how the heart came out.
I'd use this paper for my thesis, if it
weren't so hard to cut.

For my sweetheart.

Keep an eye out, I'm totally into making some of these to share with the world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

IF - Reverse

I haven't done an Illustration Friday project in over a year *gulp* has it been that long?!
Thankfully it's part of a class assignment, which I need.
This is the one time that a concept has come to me quickly, and the execution was just as fast. I think it was meant to be.

It's face paint, not a mask, just in case you were wondering.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Progression with a shadowbox

Mental note to myself: I want to re-do the Juniper Tree's full-page illustration into a large poster. (I'll get right on that, right after I make 6 huge paper dolls.)

Alice is coming along slowly. I have another project ahead of her that's a commission for a friend (which is coming along) and then I'm going to putz around with her in between thesis work. Can I do it? Will I find time?! WHERE WILL I FIND TIME?!
I think I should purposely make time, because I have a feeling that my brain is not in working order and that I'm also not working as hard as I should be on important projects.

So here's Alice, and the shadowbox that I found while I was buying frames for my robots. It's about roughly two inches (maybe three) deep and tall enough to hold her. She's one of my larger personal dolls and I just grabbed this box "just in case" I wanted to make something bigger. Well, there you go, my subconscious was working for me this one time,

She's pinned to the board above my work table so that
she's out of the way while I work on thesis stuff.

Hard to see, but she's taped to the glass
area on her shadow box. Can't wait to finish!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Juniper Tree

Images from my recent project: The Juniper Tree as a comic. I'll probably be revamping these soon.