Monday, November 22, 2010

End of my final fall quarter

Hello all,
Just a couple more pieces to show you before a nice, long holiday!

First off, the most exciting news I have this quarter is about my Advertising Illustration class. For our final assignment, my professor was able to snag an actual client, Perc Coffee. Perc (Panther's Eye Roasting Company) is starting out in Savannah, and was looking for illustrators to create a poster to hang in the places in which their coffee would be sold, for customers to try out new blends. We were to illustrate "Perc Up," the house blend, and put our illustration into a template created by Perc's designer. Only one person from the class would actually be printed on the posters. Thanks to learning how to sell myself from my trip with SCAD to New York this summer, I snagged the deal! It is extremely exhilarating to be a "real working" illustrator now, and I can't wait to see my posters hanging around Savannah. I am very excited-- working with these people is a great first job to start of my career. There may, just perhaps, even be opportunities in the future with these folks.

"Perc Up," 2010, Gouache and Digital

For the concept, I was wanting to do something unexpected and fun. These "Cool Cats" came to mind, and then as I worked on the idea, my professor and I discussed how using animals are sometimes a safer bet than actual people. This eliminates issues of offense, by not representing different groups successfully enough. Everyone can relate to the cats. And, for kicks, I put them in clothing representational of different types of people who might like drinking coffee, such as professionals, professors, moms on the go, etc. The feel I was going for was one of unity and tranquility in the gathering around coffee. There is no specific background so the viewer can more easily place themselves in the piece, imagining the coffee shop or cafe they feel most comfortable in. I also made sure to use the color scheme already provided by the designer, so the poster worked well as a whole. The groupings are painted in gouache individually, and then arranged in Photoshop.
I'll keep you updated on this incredible adventure!

Backtracking a little, here is an older piece from my Psychology class that I was unable to scan until later. For this project, we had to create a superhero based on one specific sense. It sounds like a very juvenile project, but it was a nice creative solution to learning about one of the duller parts of the class (science... in my opinion!) My partner and I received "sight," and created Eb the Eye Blinder. His eyes can intake more light than any other human, and they overflow to the outside of his eye, temporarily blinding others. That's why he has to wear those stellar shades when his power isn't in use. (Kinda cheesy, I know. But I had a lot of fun with the illustration.)

"EB" 2010, Gouache

"Popi 4/4" 2010, Lithography Print with Chine-colle

For our final lithography assignment, I decided to utilize the open theme by creating a piece symbolizing current happenings in my life. My father, a couple of weeks ago, was asked to step down from his position of store manager at a national grocery chain. He had been a loyal, award-winning and trusted employee of the store for 26 years, and the circumstances in which he lost his job were unfair and clearly revealing ulterior motives by his employer. Truly, he was constantly celebrated by the people he worked with every day, and had an uncanny knack for improving morale and margins in one fell swoop. This came as a shock to everyone in my family, as well as the company community. My father, typical to his personality, is incredibly optimistic, and already finding golden opportunities for his next career. I wanted to express to him, through this piece, how moving it is that he touched so many people, and that he continues to march on, unwavering. To illustrate this feeling, I chose to use lyrics to a sweet song, which I comically had heard from the Muppet Show. The song is about holding people up, supporting, loving and believing in them. One part reads, “If just one person believes in you/ deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you/ hard enough and long enough/ it stands to reason that someone else will think/ ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’/ Making it two whole people who believe in you.” For the imagery, I knew I wanted to use some type of ocean scene, because of my father’s undying love for the sea. He recently has discovered an interest in sailing, so I decided to use the boat as a metaphor for him, being lifted by the encouraging words of the people who love him. He is sailing away from the gloomy city, the lifestyle that did not appreciate his contributions. The color choices are all symbolic as well. Using a warm yellow for underneath the water and the boat suggests upbeat energy and happiness, while the colors fade into a chillier palette the further into the background it recedes.
I executed the assignment with three runs of photolithography plates. The images I painted by hand, scanned, and printed onto the transparencies, which I then used to burn into the photo plates. My first run was in yellow, and went quite smoothly, except for my registration. I always find myself frustrated and seemingly stupid about the concept. This is embarrassing, and I realize I should have conquered this step at my stage in the curriculum, but for some reason, I have a very difficult time with it. The large size of my prints made this even more frustrating. I ended up somehow printing my plate two inches higher than intended on the paper, which has forced me to tear my edition down to make the border less awkward and bottom-heavy. Whatever caused my error then drove me to recreate my registration once more for each plate after the first. Luckily, I had saved my transparencies, and through a very silly system, I managed to problem solve. The rest of the plates lined up pretty well.
My second run included a blend roll, which I enjoyed very much. This was my first time attempting the technique, and although not always cohesive with my style, I found it a very simple and pleasing tool to create atmospheric perspective. Not to mention my blue and green look lovely mixed together! The last run was in dark blue, with chine-colle. The only issue with this was the glue, which apparently soaked through my patterned paper, causing it to stick to the plate as I lifted the paper off. There was some tearing, unfortunately, and I have tried to mend it as subtly as possible.
Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of this project. I attempted several techniques that I had not utilized before, and worked outside my comfort zone with such a large image size. This project was a challenge, but also a success, and a wonderful way to wrap up my lithography studies.

On week 9, I got to see award-winning illustrator Peter Brown speak. I usually enjoy sitting in lectures pertaining to my major, but listening to Peter Brown was especially inspiring. Peter is a children’s book author and illustrator, with one of his books, “The Curious Garden,” having sat on the New York Times bestseller list for six months. He explained not only his personal journey into the field, but also gave advice to the audience about procedures to earn book deals. I felt as though the lecture was a very nice balance between autobiography and guidance, whereas usually speakers seen lean too heavily on one topic over another. Plus, I just really love his style!

©Peter Brown, "The Curious Garden" Cover

©Peter Brown, "The Curious Garden" Spread

This was a pretty good quarter, as far as work goes. And it looks like I managed to get by with all A's again! Next quarter I'll be taking my last printmaking class, Photographic/Digital Applications for Printmaking, and my very important Illustration Portfolio class. And for my lecture, I'll be in Art Since 1945 online. Hopefully that will allow me to focus more on my portfolio class and less on exams. But no need to worry about that, just yet!

That's all for now, more updates on holiday work coming soon.


Daniel Woodling said...

Those cats are one of the most appealing things I've seen in the last few weeks. I love them. Sorry to hear about your dad's loss, but I think you turned such a negative thing into a positive thing with that piece of artwork. :3

Caitlin said...

Thanks Dan! That means a lot. I feel like I was able to squeeze some good work out at the end of the quarter, so it's really nice to hear people agree with that.